Last Orders Study Guide

Last Orders

Last Orders by Graham Swift

The story makes much use of flashbacks to tell the convoluted story of the relationships between a group of war veterans who live in the same corner of London, the backbone of the story being the journey of the group from Bermondsey to Margate to scatter the ashes of Jack Dodds into the sea, in accord with his last wishes.

The narrative is split into short sections told by the main characters as well as updates along the journey at Old Kent Road, New Cross, Blackheath, Dartford, Gravesend, Rochester, Chatham Naval Memorial and Canterbury Cathedral. The title 'Last Orders' not only refers to these instructions as stipulated in Jack Dodd's will, but also alludes to the 'last orders (of the day)' - the last round of drinks to be ordered before a pub closes, as drinking was a favourite pastime of Jack and the other characters.

The plot and style are influenced by William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying .

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