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The Last Thing He Wanted Paperback – September 2, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this, her 10th book and fifth novel, she turns a fictional probe on the machinations of American politics in the Orwellian significant year of 1984. The story takes in the workings of US central administration and international diplomacy, as well as the American media and the shady operators who work on the fringes of State corruption.
Elena McMahon is a journalist reporting on the presidential election campaign when, to oblige her father, Dick, who "does deals", she goes to Central America in his stead. There she find herself adrift, a pawn in a game with rules she can only begin to grasp, at the heart of an arms trafficking operation and a political conspiracy around Treat Morrison, American Ambassador-At-Large.
Elena's story is related by an unnamed, "not quite omniscient author... who wanted the story to materialise for you [reader] as it did for me [narrator]". The novel employs such tricks throughout, calling attention to an awareness of its own methods and questioning the conventions of all modern narrative forms - fiction, journalism, thriller writing, reportage, even film scripts. "What we want here is a montage, music over," begins one chapter. "Angle on Elena. Alone on the dock... taking of her scarf and shaking out her hair."
Didion is a superb stylist with a number of signature techniques, the most characteristic being the way she repeats key phrases with minute but important variations.Read more ›
Didion's novel is a depiction of that dark underbelly of American foreign policy (for sure, carping about "human rights" plays no part) "necessary" to maintaining "friendly" governments. There are the machinations of the CIA; there are the "free-market" hustlers that are the arms dealers, still hoping to draw that card so high and wild they'll never have to deal another. There are the surreal conversations about the market falling on the price of anti-personnel mines (`69's) from three dollars to two, each.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Context of time and location is all over the place. Boring as well. Some good knowledge of and interest in WW2 era is helpful. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Katiemylove
This book is a rarity-- experimental writing that isn't boring. That's because Didion isn't playing with words as with most experimental writing, but working them to show us "the... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by A Customer
If you have read a number of Joan Didion novels, particularly starting in the 1980s, she turns her attention progressively on our neighbors in to the south, and American meddling... Read morePublished on February 4, 2013 by Eric Maroney
This is the first Joan Didion book I've read; my impression is that she is a master stylist.
This is the story of Elena Kagan, reporter, wife of a powerful oilman,... Read more
Didion is a masterful writer, but after reading this one I'm beginning to agree with another reviewer who felt she does better with nonfiction. Read morePublished on September 7, 2010 by Poogy
In my view, Didion is as close to perfect as any living writer, and this book represents the top of her form. It is a quiet book, its excellence pervasive but never showy. Read morePublished on March 31, 2010 by Phineas Fogg
This is a great read. I wasn't sure if I was interested in the subject (not a big fan of conspiracy theories or the mid-80's), but I wanted to read a Joan Didion novel and this is... Read morePublished on April 26, 2009 by Sean's Mom
I have read several of Didion's non-fiction essay collections and this was the second of the writer's novels for me, after "Play It As It Lays. Read morePublished on January 26, 2007 by C. E. Stevens
Perhaps Didion has done as much as she can with her distinctive prose style, maybe she has gotten a little bored with it, and should have attempted something different. Read morePublished on December 4, 2006 by algo41