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In 1929 an infant boy dies. From this tragedy a mystery is born that his mother, Sophie Zeitman, will never solve. Her husband, Jack, responds to his son's death by angrily rejecting Sophie. After a time, a traveler from Sitka, Alaska appears in their neighborhood. Although Sophie's love for Jack endures, she is forced to make a critical decision. Her father, wise and gentle Israel Mikaelov, intuits her dilemma. "Show me Alyosha, Papa," she says. At this same time, Jack's feelings for Sophie surface once again. Alyosha mysteriously leaves. Mikael is born.One day toward the end of her life, Sophie's sixteen year old grandson, Ira, discloses a terrifying experience to her. Seeing that he is on the threshold of needing to make his own difficult decisions, she reveals her unsolved secret for the first time.Sophie's strength is her guiding spirit. Through mere suggestion she imparts the truth that time on earth is finite and should be made valuable. In addition, she eases all the lives she touches into searching for the light that exists in every dark corner. This belief never wavers even though she is burdened by her secret that could immobilize any other person.And then there's the non-poker-playing foursome - Sophie, Blanche, Maggie, and Gertie - who, for over fifty years, trade barbs and insults, penetrate each other's souls, and rock with laughter over things they would never reveal to anyone else. The cards always remain undealt. In the end, is Sophie's mystery solved by one of the remaining foursome?Now Sophie is eighty-two years old and is in the last stages of Alzheimer's disease. She has lost her orientation to time and memory. The Last Syllable probes the idea of time and how people structure their lives as time moves inexorably forward. The Last Syllable proposes that even though Sophie's recorded time has expired, this is not the end of her story.