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Last Last Chance: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, March 31, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sprawling debut with an alternately absurdist and sardonic tone, Maazel's debut follows the tribulations of Lucy, a young drug addict who works at a New York City kosher chicken plant. Lucy's father was a Centers for Disease Control bigwig who's recently committed suicide, presumably due to fallout from his perceived role in an outbreak of plague that is spreading across America. Her mother, Isifrid, is a crack-addled gazillionaire, while grandmother Agneth talks incessantly of reincarnation, and younger half-sister Hannah harbors a huge obsession with disease. As the novel opens, Lucy sets off with her alcoholic, over-50 co-worker, Stanley, to attend the wedding of her best friend, Kam—who is marrying Eric, whom Lucy met first and fell in love with. After some hijinks, Lucy heads to a rehab facility in Texas. Over the course of Lucy's wild road trip, Maazel, daughter of conductor Loren, delivers some electric writing: the novel is brimming with wit, ideas and delightfully screwball humor. But the whimsy undermines the story, especially on the abundant substance abuse material. The novel's earnest, surprising conclusion feels out of sync with the zingy, existential banter of its core. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Crisp dialogue, brisk pacing, dark yet compassionate comedy . . . A remarkable feat of the imagination."--Newsday

"Moving, buoyant, and utterly true . . . Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose. . . . Maazel is such a fine, precise writer, she can convince the reader of almost anything."--The New York Times Book Review

"Maazel writes with a kind of ecstatic swagger--freewheeling and cocksure, intelligent and loopy and funny as hell."

"Lithe prose, crackling wit, and a deep appreciation for the absurdity, spirtual poverty, and occasional nobility of Americans in a time of extreme crisis."--Time Out New York

"Read this book now for the sentence-by-sentence brilliance of Maazel's inimitable voice. . . . Maazel was born in 1975, but her imagination has been on fire for a thousand years."--Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312428316
  • ASIN: B005IV1JME
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,802,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fiona Maazel is the author of LAST LAST CHANCE (FSG, 2008) and WOKE UP LONELY (Graywolf, 2013). She teaches at NYU, Brooklyn College, Columbia, and Princeton, and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bill Warner on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The compelling fantasy about a plague epidemic and depiction of an eccentric and disconnected family make Last Last Chance a great read in their own rights. But Fiona Maazel's greatest strength is the voice she gives to her protagonist, Lucy Clarke. She is sardonic and desperate. She is devoted to family and trapped in selfishness. Maazel deftly portrays the ambivalence, yearning and hopelessness of addiction and the cynicism felt by many addicts as they dip their toes into the recovering community pool. The recovery as reincarnation analogy she makes is aptly drawn.

Don't let the description on the dust jacket fool you. The reincarnation espousing grandmother, pagan crack-head mother, disease and Christian fundamentalism obsessed sister, the lover seeking a donor for his dead wife's fertilized eggs all make it appear to be a novel filled with absurd, flat caricatures. In fact, Maazel gives each a rich, logical and sad inner life. Any absurdity is just on the surface. You will admire and care for each of these people, even if you despise some of their behaviors.

I disagree with Publishers Weekly's criticism of the book's conclusion. Without giving away details, I'll simply say that any change in "tone" is consistent with how Lucy's life was changed by outside forces and by how she adapts despite and because of and those events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. martin Gomez on June 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maybe because I am not a US born person and live in a different country, but it was not very clear at the beginning what was the meaning of the book. The second half was OK and what I liked the most and made sense to me was the end.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Forest F. White on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This experiment with a fresh narrative voice is distracted. The main character is not sardonic, as most reviewers point out, but naive, which is reinforced by the lack of tangible details in any part of the narrative. This book is so barren of imagery that it raises the question as to why it wasn't simply a short story. If shortened, it might have held my interest. On the whole, it is a rather plodding journey towards an unsatisfying conclusion in a bland world devoid of any contrast or detail other than the characters. This might carry a short story. It doesn't carry this novel.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By bapawn on April 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was very impressed by this book. I think that Ms. Maazel has hit the heart of the matter when it comes to facing up to losses and tragedies of all sorts, and the role that addictions of all kinds play in how we approach loss. Her handling of a variety of characters, all wrestling with their personal demons, or getting a chance to "take a breather" on the sidelines before their next incarnation, is spot-on. Despite the weight of her material, Ms. Maazel can write funny as hell, too, and I found myself laughing out loud many times, which is rare for me. I look forward to this talented writer's next book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The writer knows her way around a sentence. She wrote a somehow hilarious account of a girl living through a national crisis while simultaneously battling drug addiction, heartache and depression and suicidal tendencies. There's a blaze of hope here despite the tragedy of the human condition.
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