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The Last Convertible Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A damn fine story, rich in mood and detail." -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"A superb novel." -- San Diego Union-Tribune

"First rate...celebrates values not conspicuous in current fiction." -- Wall Street Journal

"Lives, breathes and engages us.... First rate." -- New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Anton Myrer enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served for three years in the Pacific. Wounded on Guam, he returned to Harvard, graduated, and began an illustrious literary career in which he wrote such memorable novels as The Big War, The Last Convertible, and A Green Desire. He died in 1996.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380819597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380819591
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on September 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every so often, and not often enough, we find ourselves given a gift--a surprise gift. A gift of a novel, that changes the very way we look at ourselves and the world around us. Books alone seem to have that ability to transform us. The best of all are the books we don't expect to change things for us. The Last Convertible is one of those books. This book immediately takes it's place on my top ten list. I bought it because it was called "a coming of age" novel by one critic. Coming of age stories are among my favorite genres. I had just finished a nice coming of age story of the mid-90s, the Fundamentals of Play (which interestingly has a loyal narrator named George, a Currier type in Chat, and vapid Chris, with it's Kate--but this probably only interests me). A group of people who came of age in the times I had. It was good read. Myrer's Fusiliers (as the 5 men were called) were of the era of my grandparents, so I had no idea what to expect. What I found, pretty much from page one, was a story that would not let go. I finished the second half of the book in 2 days, refusing to put it down. I would read it, go out in "real world" and feel as though the characters and feelings were walking with me. These characters and times are no more--but the feelings are universal. Russ, Jean-Jean, Terry, Dal, Chris (the mysterious and ever deeping charm of Christabel), the infuriating Nancy, Ron, Peg, Irene, the sordid Kay Madden, the unforgettable Liz Payne, Amanda, and Teddy. Not to mention Dr. Mel, Opp, and the Countess. There are so many characters that flood through the years of this novel, yet they all touch you in surprising ways. And of course, the Empress--symbol and fact. Above them of all, is one of my all-time literary heroes, the seemingly ordinary George Virdon.Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "mariposa_422" on February 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anton Myrer's "The Last Convertible" is probably the best book I have ever read. I could not put it down from the time I picked it up to the time I finished it. I didn't want it to ever end. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to pick it up and read it again. Myrer makes the characters so real that you literally feel like you know them. His tone and style reminded me so much of F. Scott Fitzgerald's, another of my favorite authors. You get so emotionally involved in this book; you feel the characters' happiness and pain, you are torn at their dilemas and conflicts. I had such a respect for the narrator, George Virdon, he is a very real and likeable character. If you like reading at all, especially if you like Fitzgerald or other war-era books, and definatly if you are a romantic or nostalgic, then "The Last Convertible" is the book you want to read. I loved it; it is definatly a book worth re-reading.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By F. F Klein on January 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of he more fascinating descriptions of the 40's through the 70's (WW2 through Vietnam). Five Harvard students and their lives all connected to "The Empress", a 1938 green Packard convertible, the ownership of which is transferred between them down through the years. Thriling and vivid descriptions of WW2 activity and it's inevitable injury and loss. Romance abounds with the pursuit of true love throughout. Particularly appealing to me were the numerous descriptions of the big bands of the 40's era including lyrical excerpts from the top tunes of the day. This is a book I would read again. Other than some extrodinarily long letters between the five main characters when they were separated during the war (I'm not sure anyone would write letters of that length, but maybe they could have), I found this onen hard to put down after it got under way. In my opinion, one of the most expressive paragraphs appears on page 30 as "George" describes the initial meeting of the five young men. He oberved: "There are only moments. They like to tell us that time runs along in even, ticking measures, minute to day to month to decade, but that isn't true. It's like a groping journey in the fog, hiking up Bootspur Trail on Mount Washngton in bad weather, nothing around you but the rock of the trail and the ghostly shadow of the firs....and all at once you reach the summit and it's blown clear and the sun is blazing down out of a vibrant, rain-washed sky and everything is new and full of clarity; and time does have a stop, just as the great man said. Moments like that, few and far between, clearings in the fog,, onn the high ground. One minute we were a group of awkward,ill at ease strangers thrown together by chance, the next we were a force...Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By ED MAYER on June 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Last Convertible" is one of the best novels I've ever read (and I've read a lot); like at least one other reviewer, I'd give it ten stars if I could. But more than that, it is by far the best novel of the GI generation. That is the generation of American men and women born from 1901 through 1924, who were mostly children through the Jazz Age and the Great Depression, bore the brunt of the fighting in WW II, began to take positions of power in the postwar years, and are now rapidly dying off. (See Strauss and Howe, "Generations", a fascinating non-fiction study of generations in America.) This is the generation that Tom Brokaw calls "The Greatest Generation".
There are other great novels, like James Jones' "From Here to Eternity" or Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead", that treat primarily of that generation's role in World War Two. But "The Last Convertible" takes its unforgettable characters, all of whom are beginning college in 1940, through that last year of peacetime (for America, though the war had already begun in Europe and China), and then through the war and the postwar era, through the 1960s and into the 1970s.
I leave it to others to speak of such things as Myrer's style, his plots and subplots, and his development of the characters, all of which I find admirable. For me what makes this a great novel is how it brings the experiences of that generation to life.
I first discovered "The Last Convertible" when it came out in paperback, in the 1980s I think, and have reread it several times since then, always with enormous pleasure. I myself began college just a year later than Russ, Chris, George, Nancy, Dal, Terry, and Jean-Jean, and on almost every page I find wonderful reminders of "how we were".
In short, I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who wants to know what it was like to live through those years.
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