Journalist Elena McMahon watches her evasive, gruff father's life ebbing away before her. A desire to understand him impels her to do his bidding, to go into a "situation" in Central Ameria, knowing neither what to expect, what to ask or what to define as achievement.
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‘ I read it twice for pure delight.’ Guardian
‘Fast-paced, witty, inventive… “The Last Thing He Wanted” is a creation of high seriousness, a thriller composed with all the resources of a unique gift for imaginative literature.’ New York Review of Books
‘An impressive, fast-talking, hard-boiled, wise-cracking, tough-guy of a novel.’ Philip Hensher, Mail on Sunday
PRAISE FOR THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING
'Her poetic writing has a spell-like charm that is profoundly affecting.' Observer
'This brave book maps a year…when the world flipped over to expose the underside of cool where things go bad.’ The Times
'The subject may be bleak, but her tender treatment makes it a book that we should all read.' Daily MailFrom the Back Cover:
"It is 1984, a period, in Joan Didion's sweeping formulation of luridness, of counterfeit machismo, of 'striking and maintaining a certain kind of sentimental pose'. More specifically, it was a time when large quantities of lethal weaponry reached the Nicaraguan Contras with the connivance, but without the official sanction, of the American government…It is typical of Didion's approach to her theme that Elena McMahon, the out of work reporter who agrees to escort a shipment of anti personnel mines to a Caribbean island arrives on the remote jungle airstrip wearing a black silk shift. This novel, like its heroine's choice of travel wear, proclaims its classiness at once…Didion's language is as high toned as it is hip, an amalgam of journalistic and political jargons with pared down prose full of finely sprung rhythms, suggestive pauses and patterns of repetition and variation as artful and shapely as song…impractical as it may be, there really is nothing as becoming as black silk."
LUCY HUGHES HALLETT, 'Sunday Times'
"The centrality of 'The Last Thing He Wanted' is not a person, nor even an event, but the tone of the US in 1984. The technique of writing is, as usual, unique, an incantation with repetitions and rhythms to entrance the reader, meant to restore full weight to a language made weightless by misuse…I should perhaps also mention that I read it twice for pure delight before reading it for review."
"Fast paced, witty, inventive…'The Last Thing He Wanted 'is a creation of high seriousness, a thriller composed with all the resources of a unique gift for imaginative literature."
ELIZABETH HARDWICK,'New York Review of Books'
"Joan Didion's first novel for more than a decade, 'The Last Thing He Wanted' is by far her most secular and disenchanted. It is also close to her best."
BRIAN MORTON, 'TES'
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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002240807