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The Last Straw   By:

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The Last Straw by William J. Smith is a thought-provoking and compelling novel that explores themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the consequences of one's actions. Set in a small coastal town, the story follows the life of protagonist Sarah Thompson, a middle-aged woman burdened by the weight of her past mistakes.

Smith's writing style is immersive and evocative, painting vivid pictures of the town's picturesque beauty and the struggles faced by its inhabitants. The author's descriptions of the coastal setting create an almost tangible atmosphere, making it easy to envision oneself alongside the characters.

The development of Sarah's character is particularly well-executed. As the story progresses, Smith delves into her troubled past, gradually revealing the events that have led her to her current state of despair. Through skillful storytelling, the reader gains a deep understanding of Sarah's inner turmoil, and it becomes increasingly clear that she is desperately searching for redemption.

What sets The Last Straw apart from other novels is the manner in which it tackles the subject of forgiveness. Smith crafts a narrative that forces the reader to question their own views on redemption and whether it can truly be attained. The novel doesn't shy away from addressing the complexity of forgiveness, showing the various ways in which it can be both sought after and denied.

Additionally, the supporting characters in the book are well-fleshed out and enhance the overall narrative. Each character has their own unique struggles and dilemmas, which intertwine with Sarah's journey, adding depth and complexity to the plot. The relationships between the characters are intricately woven, creating a web of emotions that will keep readers engaged until the very end.

One minor flaw in the book is the pacing in certain parts. There are moments where the narrative slows down, making it feel as though the story loses some of its momentum. However, these instances are relatively fleeting and do not detract significantly from the overall reading experience.

In summary, The Last Straw is a captivating and emotionally charged novel that tackles complex themes with sensitivity and nuance. William J. Smith's masterful storytelling creates an immersive world filled with flawed yet relatable characters. This is a book that will leave readers pondering the nature of redemption and the power of forgiveness long after turning the final page.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction September 1963. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.


Some hypotheses are rational if not logical but, by their nature, aren't exactly open to controlled experiment!



"There's absolutely nothing we can pin it down to with any real certainty," Kessler said. "No mechanical defects that we're sure of, no sabotage we can put our finger on, no murder or suicide schemes, nothing! We've put that plane back together so perfectly that it could almost fly again! We've got dossiers an inch thick on practically everybody who was aboard, crew and passengers. We've done six months' work and we don't have one single positive answer. The newspapers were yelling about the number of insurance policies issued for the flight but none of them looks really phony."

He stood at the huge window of Senator Brogan's office, looking out at the shimmering sunlight on one of Washington's green malls... Continue reading book >>

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