“I’m a fan of obituaries — a life whittled down to a handful of words reveals a great deal. In Dava Shastri’s Last Day, we see the glorious backfire of secretly outliving your deepest secrets. Intriguing, fast-paced, thought provoking.”
— Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, SC
In this novel "full of music, magnetism, and familial obligation" (Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here) a dying billionaire matriarch leaks news of her death early so she can examine her legacy—a decision that horrifies her children and inadvertently exposes secrets she has spent a lifetime keeping.
Dava Shastri, one of the world's wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, and Dava decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands.
Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries.
As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her "death" reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever.
And now the whole world knows, including her children.
In the time she has left, Dava must come to terms with the decisions that have led to this moment—and make peace with those closest to her before it's too late. Compassionately written and chock-full of humor and heart, this powerful novel examines public versus private legacy, the complexities of love, and the never-ending joys—and frustrations—of family.
Includes a Reading Group Guide.
A Good Morning America and Lilly Singh's Lilly Library Book Club pick
Most anticipated in fall 2021 by TIME, The Washington Post, Bustle, Goodreads, and Debutiful • An Indie Next Pick • A Publishers Marketplace Buzz Book for Fall/Winter 2021 • Longlisted for the 2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
"Dava Shastri's Last Day is a story about ambition and greatness, wealth and family, full of secrets, love, and music, and those eternal pop song complements: heartbreak and hope. It's a gripping, deeply satisfying story about one woman's tremendous life—and the infinitely complicated ways we create our own legacies."—Kate Racculia, Author of Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts and Bellweather Rhapsody