- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Underland Press (February 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0980226007
- ISBN-13: 978-0980226003
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,219,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Last Days Paperback – February 1, 2009
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“The clinical tone with which Evenson is able to traverse such situations, and the strange stark architecture of their world, makes even the most insidious or repulsive situations seem plausible, mathematical, nearby. Nothing is real, so everything is real.” —VICE
"The deceptively simple prose keeps the book brisk and even gripping as its puzzles grow more craggy and complex. This is Evenson's singular, Poe-like gift: He writes with intelligence and a steady hand, even when his characters decide to lop their own limbs off." —Time Out New York
“[Last Days] is a novel that must be read by fans of mysteries, noir, and horror if they want to have an idea of what those genres can be. . . . Brian Evenson is the kind of writer who should be rediscovered by every generation.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“Last Days . . . is a detective novel and a cult novel (in that it is about cults—though perhaps the other designation would work too) and a brutal horror novel and a fine work of minimalist literary fiction.” —LitHub
--This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
From the Back Cover
Intense and profoundly unsettling, Brian Evenson's Last Days is a down-the-rabbit-hole detective novel set in an underground religious cult. The story follows Kline, a brutally dismembered detective forcibly recruited to solve a murder inside the cult. As Kline becomes more deeply involved with the group, he begins to realize the stakes are higher than he previously thought. Attempting to find his way through a maze of lies, threats, and misinformation, Kline discovers that his survival depends on an act of sheer will. Last Days was first published in 2003 as a limited edition novella titled The Brotherhood of Mutilation. Its success led Evenson to expand the story into a full-length novel. In doing so, he has created a work that's disturbing, deeply satisfying, and completely original. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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Our main character is klein. He is not a hero or even an anti hero, probably an unhero. He doesnt want anything to do with this world yet somehow it drags him in. He has very little in the way of redeeming qualities and only participates in the events of the novellas due to outside forces compelling him. Klein fights his way out the clutches of not one, but two cults.
The content of the story itself is fairly simple. Someone is murdered, klein is brought in to solve. Questions of reality pop up, among other themes and it ultimately boils down to philosophy. Despite that, althat has been mentioned, the story never boils down to blaming the brotherhood or accusing religious sects to be inherently violent. Evenson has a personal history with religious sects, and his humility and respect towards these that shine through as strongly as his critiques.
I see some reviews praising the "sparse" narrative, but actually that's not quite right. Many earlier passages were detailed (a scene in a hospital excruciatingly so), with later passages skimmed over in that sparse way. It felt uneven, like the author wanted to get it over with.
Social faux pas warning: After reading this book, the next time someone introduces themselves to you as "Paul", you might break out laughing hysterically. Just trust me.
The story and descriptions are strikingly sparse, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks. But the other advantage of this writing style is that it gives Evenson the ability to move things along a breakneck pace. His brutally spontaneous violence is a joy to read and had me savoring each page with delight. I never knew what was going to happen next and his dialogue is beyond perfect, very similar to the style of the brilliant David Mamet. This incredibly original story is one I will not soon forget and gets my highest recommendation.
Do not hesitate to read if you're a hard boiled slash horror slash weird fiction fan. It doesn't get any better than this.