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Last Days Paperback – February 1, 2009

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Paperback, February 1, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Evenson is the chair of the MFA program at Brown. He is the author of The Open Curtain, Altman's Tongue, and Fugue State, among others. His work has won the American Library Best Horror Novel award, and has been nominated for an International Horror Award. He is known for intelligent, sharp prose that takes what we know of the world and turns it upside down. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Underland Press (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980226007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980226003
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,382,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Josh Mauthe on January 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
How do you begin to describe Last Days? Ostensibly, it's a detective novel about a private eye named Kline, who is just beginning to recover from the violent loss of his hand when he is pulled into a bizarre investigation at the compound of a unique religious cult. But while Last Days plays with a lot of detective story tropes, it's as much visceral body horror and pitch-black satire of religious fanaticism as noir - imagine The Maltese Falcon crossed with The Ruling Class - Criterion Collection as directed by David Cronenberg, and you approach the uniqueness of what Evenson's created here. The book will inspire any number of reactions from a reader - there are parts of fascinating depth, and some parts that play as some surreal twisted joke that only the sickest will laugh at, while others are pure farce - and that says nothing of the violence and horror that permeate the book's pages. Last Days moves like an absolute rocket, and if you think things are strange in the first half, just wait until Paul shows up. Or, you could wait until the cleavers start coming back out. To know too much is to ruin the fun, which is why I beg you to avoid Peter Straub's introduction until after you finish the book - it's a fascinating discussion, but it discusses the entire story, including the ending. So let me just say this about how good Last Days is: I barrelled through it last night, went to bed, woke up this morning, and restarted it. It's that good, and I can't wait to get my hands on more of Evenson's work.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Evil Hat (evilhatDOTblogspotCOM) on October 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Last Days is a streamlined punch to the gut. There are no wasted words here, no auxiliary threads to subtract from the main thrust, nothing to prevent Evenson's ideas from shooting directly into your skull. The tone is fast and fevered throughout, events always accelerating towards a conclusion that promises to be anything but neat, the resolution of plot threads anything but surgical.

It is impossible to get over a feeling of unease while reading these two novellas, impossible not to feel dirtied with each word that passes beneath your gaze. Kline's past is heroic, but it's taken to such extremes that the reader can't read it without feeling a tad queasy, the sort of victory that the celebrants will always wonder if it might have been better for everyone involved if it had been a defeat, instead:

"[They had] read about his so-called heroism and how, even when faced with the man with the cleaver - or the "gentleman with the cleaver" as they chose to call him - he hadn't flinched, hadn't given a thing away. Was it true, they wanted to know ,that he hadn't flinched? That he had simply watched the man raise the cleaver and bring it down, his hand becoming a separate, moribund creature?" (p. 25)

In the same vein, every sympathetic character is also a monster, every simple decision a potential moral abyss, every simple task labyrinthine and difficult. The reader feels sympathy for Kline but should they? Gous is nice, companionable, even. And yet he is also depraved in their own way, caught up in the cult until it is more powerful than right or wrong, life or death, to him

That cult, The Brotherhood of Mutilation, is the center of this story. Taking Mathew 29 ("And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tremblay on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
In Brian Evenson's LAST DAYS, Kline is a mutilated detective (lost his hand in a shadowy, never explained previous case) recruited/kidnapped by an underground religious cult of self-mutilators to solve a murder. Hardbioled meets grand guignol. Religious cults are easy targets, of course, but Evenson knows this and goes so over the top with the detailed descriptions of the cult's fetish and the violence (the mind-numbing casework detail of a detective novel becomes cold, detached passages of amputations and cauterizations) that it becomes, in an odd way, personally affecting. Kline as an everyman slowly going to pieces at the seams (and not at the seams). LAST DAYS is fast, funny, and disturbing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Duke on September 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Creepy. Dark. Twisted. Insane. Those are some words I would use to describe Brian Evenson's macabre detective novel. There are other words I would use, but unfortunately such terms are not appropriate for a review. Don't misunderstand me, though; I mean these terms in the most complimentary of ways. Evenson was sure as hell striving for a creepy, dark, twisted, insane, and macabre detective novel. And he succeeded, practically from page one.

Last Days is about a fellow named Kline, a brutally dismembered detective who is unwittingly drafted into a bizarre cult of amputees to solve a murder. The more involved he becomes in the investigation, and the crazed cult of amputation-revering individuals, the more lies, deceptions, and threats are thrown his way. Soon he realizes that the only way he can escape this bizarre world and get his life back on track is to do something that will rely on sheer will...something drastic and possibly just as insane as the cult that has forced him into their service...

Does that description paint a good picture of how creepy and twisted this novel is? I hope so. Last Days is one of the most twisted books I have ever read, and yet it is strangely addictive, almost infectious--much like a cult, actually. Each chapter progresses the plot at a rapid pace. This novel is not one that takes the time to slow down and let you settle it. It wants you to be on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next, who will come popping out of the wood works to screw things up for Kline. The fast-paced feel of the novel is precisely what makes it so infectious; each chapter made me want to know what would happen next, and how Kline would manage to get himself out of whatever new pickle had come his way.
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