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The Last Thing He Wanted Paperback – September 2, 1997
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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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.
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 ›
As many commentators have said, there are deep shades of Graham Greene in this novel (and most of the other novels she has written in this vein). For someone moving through Didion's oeuvre, there is not anything new to stimulate. If you are coming to Didion fresh, no doubt you are in for an interesting ride. Didion had a terse way of building narrative tension. She moves back and forth in time effortlessly, allowing the reader to see every nook and cranny of her created world.
However, if you have read her a great deal, this world is a repeat. Her concerns in this period are rather narrow, and it comes across in this novel.
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 15 months ago by Katiemylove
Joan Didion, author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (FSG Classics), and several others, is one of America's most incisive contemporary novelists. Read morePublished on February 7, 2011 by John P. Jones III
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
In general I am an admirer of Joan Didion's work, especially the essay collections Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album (and more recently her memoirs Where I Was From... Read morePublished on November 14, 2003 by Macs Perkins