The Last Family in England Paperback
by Matt Haig
Meet the Hunter family: Adam, Kate, and their children Hal and Charlotte. And Prince, their black Labrador. Prince is an earnest young dog, striving hard to live up to the tenets of the Labrador Pact (Remain Loyal to Your Human Masters, Serve and Protect Your Family at Any Cost).
Other dogs, led by the Springer Spaniels, have revolted.
Their slogans are 'Dogs for Dogs, not for Humans' and 'Pleasure not Duty'.
Mentored by an elderly Labrador called Henry, Prince takes his responsibilities seriously, and as things in the Hunter family begin to go badly awry - marital breakdown, rowdy teenage parties, attempted suicide - his responsibilities threaten to overwhelm him. And down in the park it's even worse: Henry has disappeared; Falstaff the Springer Spaniel wants to lead Prince astray; Joyce the Irish wolfhound has been murdered.
In the end Prince is forced to break the Labrador Pact and take desperate action to save his Family.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 05/05/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099468455
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by TheoClarke
Charming unsentimental tale of family breakdown described by a dog in a distinctive droll voice that does not shrink from harsh observations.
Review by riverwillow
Sadly this book didn't grab me in the way that Haig's other book, <i>The Radleys</i>, did. I loved the idea of the Labrador Pact, loved Prince - he reminded me of my aunt's labrador, Fred - but I found the family so tiresome and two dimensional, even when mitigated through a dog's eyes I just couldn't care about them enough to really engage with the book properly.
Review by SandDune
'Nobody knows exactly how the Springer Uprising started. Or how. There are different stories, but it happened too quickly for anybody to be sure. Within no time at all, Springer spaniels could be found in almost every part of the country, spreading the word.' 'Dogs for Dogs, not for Humans' and 'Pleasure before Duty' say the Springers and more and more dogs follow their lead.But of course Labradors are everything Springer spaniels are not: dutiful; obedient; prepared to sacrifice everything for their masters. So Prince, a young black Labrador, is a fervent adherent to the Labrador Pact, a resistance movement which reveres the Family as the most beautiful aspect of human existence, and the proper environment for a dog to live. 'Duty over All' is the motto of the Pact and Prince tries to follow this creed as dogs all around him live for the moment. But his family is falling apart: suicide attempts, marriage, breakdown and teenage problems mean that Prince's attempts to protect his family become more and more desperate.The Last Family in England is a black comedy which starts with Prince awaiting his final appointment with the vet, and tells the story of how his breaking of the Pact led him to that position. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Radleys by the same author which I read last year, but still a decent book and a good holiday read. And as someone who used to own a Springer Spaniel, the idea that Springers are responsible for an uprising makes perfect sense!