If I had to sum up Last Night in a word, it would be: refreshing. I totally fell for Mhairi McFarlane’s tone in this book – the voice she gave to lead character Eve was just brilliant. Eve is dry, sarcastic, very funny and a kind soul. The sort of mix of a person you just want to be friends with. Which is why, I think, I enjoyed Last Night so much – I was rooting for Eve from the first few pages.
Opening sentence: You were alive again last night.
Eve is part of a close friendship circle: Eve, Susie, Ed and Justin met at college and, now in their mid-30s, are very close. Weekly pub-quiz regulars, they are entwined in each other’s lives in Nottingham but then then there is a truly emotional part of the story that changes everything: one of the friendship group dies in an accident, so it’s out of the blue for everyone.
The ache is permanent, it must be accommodated. It’s part of my body now.
The story then follows the characters as they deal with this loss and also understand their relationship to each other. When this happened in the story, I thought it would all take a more sombre tone, but it absolutely didn’t. By that I mean – yes, grief is address, but in a way that is still about growth and through Eve’s eyes, everything had a unique spin.
There was also a wonderful romantic storyline for Eve with one of the character’s brothers, Fin. The tension between Eve and Fin is built up brilliantly (and by this point in the story it felt like my friend debriefing me on her day) and your heart just fizzed for her.
The word guffaw is not used enough
Side note: the word ‘guffaw’ was used frequently through this book and it made me realise it’s a word just not used enough in general life. It’s such an excellent word that conveys that special point in a relationship or friendship. Some one that can make you guffaw is a keeper.
There were also so many amazing lines through the book that had little snaps of insight that I loved, such as:
I ponder how many mistakes in life are born of a simple fear of being rude.
Last Night is a heart-bursting exploration of friendship, grief, romance, unrequited love and those little nuances that make each of us just who we are.
I loved the tone, the clever observations, warm characters and laugh-out-loud moments. The perfect blend of hilarious, relatable and tender. This is my first book by Mhairi McFarlane – I’m adding her back-catalogue to my TBR immediately.