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Last Call Paperback – Apr 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140156011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140156010
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 12.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,711,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
The gong sounds three times, the lights slowly fade, and with the soft rustling of the curtain the musty smell of artificial life spreads across the scene. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. M. M. Out on 3 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being Dutch, for as long as I have read, I have known Harry Mulish as one of the, and later THE, preeminent Dutch author(s). He is the author of a large and diverse body of work - novels, stories, essays, non-fiction. Over the years I had read The Discovery of Heaven, arguably his chef d'œuvre, The Procedure, about cabalism and the creation of a golem, and his last novel Siegfried, a crafty work about Hitler's fictional son. When I started on Last Call, I was expecting a delighful minor work. Delightful it was, but not minor. Yet it was not delightful in the sense of nice and easy. Rather it was in the sense of enjoying Mulish mastery of plot, style and language. A rare quality in the Dutch context, shared with few luminaries, e.g. S. Vestdijk and Hella Haasse. I will not pretend to be a full-blown literary critic and do the various layers justice. I will just give you some of the ingredients of the novel, as follows. Main character is an old and tired, last but second rate representative of a first rate theatrical family. His pedigree consists of vaudeville, farces, operetta's and such like, extending all the way into WWII Germany, after which he only managed to direct amateur theatre and bar keeping. He finds himself found by a modernist theatre group, who want his name and his classical style and offer him the lead in a play about a play (The Tempest) - the farewell performance of an old lion of the theatre of several decades ago. The book is about life versus theatre, about age, beauty, truth, about love even, all against the backdrop of a colourful Amsterdam of the 70-80s. The book lightly and humorously covers big themes, is satirical, but with respect. And the main man keeps standing, even as he falls...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
dazzling! Total theatre; total literature. Magic winding plo 26 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mulisch accomplished here again a dazzling novel. It is theatre withing theatre. In intricate winding of lives, the old actor, Uli Bouwmeester performs his last role of the last role of the older actor de Vries in Shakespeares Tempest, Prospero.As magically as Prospero, the author weaves places, situations, characters, times, events in moving, twirling, engaging tapestry. In reference to Poe's "Narratives ..of Pym" the ending takes the reader through the life transforming and time transcending narratives of the protagonist. The novel unfolds with the clarity of greek tragedy. But even more than these (after all 3000 years of development) it provides rare glimpses of insight into the deeper issues of life.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Pretentious and turgid 23 Sept. 2011
By Walter - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a somewhat over-complicated novel revealing the flawed and somewhat unappealing central character through the story-line. The theatrical setting is well defined and several of the characters - Willem (Uli) himself and Berta his sister for instance - are well-drawn.
But Harry Mulisch is indeed someone who sometimes needs to hide his high intelligence and he fails to do so in this book. By turns bewildering and banal, the reader is left wondering what exactly is the point which Mulisch is getting at. The skill with which Mulisch executes the five "acts" has little corrolary in content: it's as if it is all form and little substance. Above all, Mulisch fails to make us really care about Uli; the focus shifts to Berta who is revealed as a more sympathetic and interesting figure.
Dixon's appalling translation does Mulisch no favours: some of her howlers must be incomprehensible to non-Dutch speakers ("everyone was hanging on her lips" springs to mind) and her intrusively nit-picking punctuation gives the prose a stop-start feel that makes reading clunky and awkward.
This is a book for Mulisch afficionados only.
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