In Graham Swift’s sixth novel, the Booker-prize winning Last Orders published in 1996, a day of mourning develops into a cathartic ritual of remembrance. On April 2, 1990, four men embark on a car journey to honour the final request of a dead man, Jack Dodds, a master butcher. Jack’s friends, Ray Johnson, Vic Tucker, Lenny Tate, lower-middle-class small-business owners in their late sixties, and the deceased’s adopted son, the middle-aged Vince, drive from Bermondsey, in South London, to Margate, in Kent, to scatter Jack’s ashes. Mingling resentment with duty, the four men form an unlikely “guard-of-honour” (22). Jack’s widow, Amy, is not with them: she makes another journey to a mental institution to visit their daughter, June, who was born severely retarded.

Each of the

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Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "Last Orders". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2004; last revised 28 May 2019. [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

4112 Last Orders 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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