Try an Audible book on us

The Last Cruise

A Novel
Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author of The Great Man comes a riveting high-seas adventure that combines Christensen's signature wit, irony, and humanity to create a striking and unforgettable vision of our times. 

The 1950s vintage ocean liner Queen Isabella is making her final voyage before heading to the scrapyard. For the guests on board, among them Christine Thorne, a former journalist turned Maine farmer, it's a chance to experience the bygone mid-20th century era of decadent luxury cruising, complete with fine dining, classic highballs, string quartets, and sophisticated jazz. Smoking is allowed but not cell phones - or children, for that matter. The Isabella sets sail from Long Beach, California, into calm seas on a two-week retro cruise to Hawaii and back. 

But this is the second decade of an uncertain new millennium, not the sunny, heedless '50s, and certain disquieting signs of strife and malfunction above and below decks intrude on the festivities. Down in the main galley, Mick Szabo, a battle-weary Hungarian executive sous-chef, watches escalating tensions among the crew. Meanwhile, Miriam Koslow, an elderly Israeli violinist with the Sabra Quartet, becomes increasingly aware of the age-related vulnerabilities of the ship herself and the cynical corners cut by the cruise ship company, Cabaret.  

When a time of crisis begins, Christine, Mick, and Miriam find themselves facing the unknown together in an unexpected and startling test of their characters.

©2018 Kate Christensen (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“This sly novel from Christensen (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award for The Great Man) begins as a casual romp and then heads inexorably into darker territory. The book steadily gains power as the boat loses its, and the portrayal of a small society on the edge of chaos is haunting. Christensen has crafted a Ship of Fools for an era of environmental concerns and social unrest.” (Publishers Weekly)

"[A] wry and ebullient, gradually catastrophic ship-of-fools-tail...Christensen's gripping and insightful novel dramatizes with stealth and daring the dangerous contrariness of human nature." (Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review)    

"In her tale of a harrowing voyage at sea, [Kate Christensen] weaves together a perfect microcosm of the world today - overwhelming greed paired with selflessness and community; tribalism at its worst, and humanity at its best. At times hysterical, at times heartbreaking... This is a book that lingers with long after you've finished reading." (Portland Press Herald)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    9
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mac
  • Clinton, Montserrat
  • 07-15-18

Totally enjoyable listen!

A great story of three lives entwined. Three stories woven into a compelling tale. I can’t say more without hinting at a spoiler. Great narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A truly great novel.

This book so consumed me, that I feel lost having finished it. The depth of characters, the nuance and texture of scene and experience became more real than my own existence. Life abourdv

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

cheesy

Like reading a cheesy romance novel. Kept me listening but too easy to tune it out because it was so boring at times

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

The character development was very good. I would have given it five but the ending was lacking in what I needed for closure regarding the characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Where's the story????

Struggled through for a horrible ending! I guess Part 2 should be anticipated (but will never come hopefully)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Luxury's sharp edge plus even sharper love stories

Such a compelling portrait of beautiful, brutal America! What would happen if you got to luxuriate in a one-percenter's little folly, but weren't one of them? Who do you, and your integrity, become when something goes wrong? The newest novel from the fiercely intelligent Kate Christensen (one of this country's most consistently interesting writers) gives us several unlikely heroes who are just like us: smart, talented women and men struggling to survive in the new America and the turbulent wake of international corporate power.

The turquoise waters are delightful, but like anything in excess they also hide danger and despair. The tension here is not mortal: it is, like all of Christensen's books, moral. And so wonderfully complex. She refuses to deal in easy stereotypes: no one is simply good or bad. She lures us into this cruise with a delightfully stylish premise, all exquisite food and glamorous settings and vivid characters. Then she turns it all on its head to follow the money. And while chaos threatens, she deftly develops two of the most memorable romances I've ever enjoyed.



The narrator is very good, for male voices. I've given only 4 stars simply because there were so many interesting female characters, of all ages, that I found myself longing for a female voice, or at least a less rumbly male voice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Did not want it to end. Loved all the well developed characters! The
Narrator was excellent.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

Well written characters and plot. The narrator did an excellent job. He made me feel everything they were going through

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gretchen
  • Salinas, CA, United States
  • 07-25-18

The Last Cruise

Character driven novel. Well written and engrossing, but abrupt ending left me feeling cheated. Would have been much more satisfied if the author included and "afterward" chapter.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Trite and predictable.

Looked forward to this book but was very disappointed. Interesting story line that could have done so much more. Filled with trite and tired phases and very predicable story. At one point I said aloud, "of course this happens". Middle school romance scenario. Reader did a good job with very little content to work with.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful