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The Last Hundred Days: Man Booker Longlist 2011 [Kindle Edition]

Patrick McGuinness
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"...the sardonic crispness and evocative power of its language distinguishes it from the run of contemporary fiction." Sean O'Brien, TLS "..engrossing debut novel..I defy anyone not to revel in 350-odd pages of it at least" Time Out Magazine **** Book of the Month (June 2011) Buzz Magazine

Review

"...the sardonic crispness and evocative power of its language distinguishes it from the run of contemporary fiction." Sean O'Brien, TLS "..engrossing debut novel..I defy anyone not to revel in 350-odd pages of it at least" Time Out Magazine **** Book of the Month (June 2011) Buzz Magazine

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 628 KB
  • Print Length: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Seren (17 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006VL1IZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,772 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Epoch of Light, Dignity and Joy! 24 Jun. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This longish novel relates the final eight months of the hard-line regime of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The book is highly readable, often fascinating, but has significant flaws.
Much like 'Snowdrops', also thumbs-upped by Booker Prize judges in 2011, we have the often-seen set-up of a rootless, naive man coming to a foreign country and quickly finding himself involved in confusing and potentially dangerous events ('The Last King of Scotland' is another example, plus a number of Graham Greene's novels, of course). In McGuinness's version, the anonymous narrator, a recent graduate with no attachments at home, finds himself being offered a job - despite not turning up for the interview - at Bucharest University. There he meets the charismatic, vaguely Ballardian figure of Leo O'Heix, fellow academic, psychogeographic flaneur and master black-marketeer. With extraordinary speed, the narrator is dragged not only into Leo's shady networks, but into the political epicentre of the burgeoning revolution. He meets a politician's daughter, the predictably glamorous but shadowy Celia, and - just as predictably - begins a relationship with her (quite what his attraction is for her, we aren't told). From there, he crosses paths with various sinister, shadowy characters, both old and young, as around him, dissent starts to build and the regime's triumphalist slogans begin to look increasingly empty.
The workings of totalitarian states are always fascinating and McGuinness does a good, detailed job of putting across the paranoia and madness; nothing new perhaps, but convincing and with trenchant commentary. He evokes an increasingly ruined Bucharest with skill. The novel's main problems are centred on the character of the narrator; his story is implausible, and so are his responses.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Timisoara! Timisoara! Timisoara! 13 Aug. 2011
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The Last Hundred Days is a straightforward, first person narrative told by an English academic who has found himself teaching at a Bucharest university in late 1989. He arrives into a totalitarian communist state led by the sinister Nicolae Ceau'sescu supported by the army, militia, police and securitate. But as the reader knows, in 100 days time, the regime will fall and the Ceau'sescus will be shot. This makes for an odd novel - the end is known and the puzzle is how such a turnaround will happen so quickly.

Much of the madness of 1980s Romania is well known. The destruction of villages; the orphanages; the construction of the Palace of the People; and the systematic starvation of the population in order to repay foreign debt. These reference points are all there. But there is more: an insight into the nature of corruption; how the nomenklature lived; the crazy relations between the Conduca'tor and his various African and East European counterparts, perpetually receiving each other on official visits in an effort to create credibility from thin air. As the unrest grows, the bould Nicolae jets off to Iran to press the flesh. And when you're trying to impress with your Iranian connections, you know you're in trouble.

And in the middle of all this, there's the story. Our unnamed narrator flies into Bucharest to take on a job he was given despite not attending the interview. He arrives to find he has filled the shoes (and the job, and the flat) of the missing Belanger. His position, overseen by sleazy Leo O'Heix, seems to involve more than merely teaching students. Our narrator is inducted into a world of intrigue which leads to intimate connections with all levels of the Romanian communist party.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative - feels like non-fiction 2 Sept. 2011
By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"The Last Hundred Days" in question here are the final days of Ceau'escu's Romania in late 1989. Narrated by an unnamed young British expat who has a job offer from the English department of Bucharest University, despite never having interviewed for the job, we get an insight into the life under communist rule as Eastern bloc countries all around start to open up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We are told that McGuinness lived in Romania in the years leading up to the revolution, and this is no surprise as there is an authenticity here that could only have come from some level of inside knowledge.

It's a fascinating insight, and one which I enjoyed very much, although there are a few qualms that are worth pointing out. For a start McGuinness takes quite a while for the story to get going. This is his first novel and he is apparently also a poet and this comes as no surprise in the first 50 or so pages as he never misses an opportunity to provide a metaphor or simile in his descriptions that can lead to the book seeming a little "over-written".

However the biggest challenge is that the book has a fairly tenuous relationship to anything that would conventionally be called a plot. The narrator's experience has moments that might be considered to be a plot-line as he finds out what is happening to friends he meets, but the driver of the action in the historic events. This is a problem as we all know what happened and in fact while there were signs of some changes during the last one hundred days, when the end came it was all rather sudden. Neither does our narrator seem to have much to do in his job - he meets some students outside the university and frankly it is difficult to see how he knew who they were.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars New brothel same old whores
Very well written. Compelling style. Unclear why he would have been offered his position in University or what he did there. Read more
Published 1 day ago by DJW WILLIAMS
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book. The history of a once great country crushed into servility by the big mechanisations of Communism. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book - about Romania before the fall of Ceausescu ...
Fantastic book - about Romania before the fall of Ceausescu - somewhere I know nothing about apart from stories of the terrible conditions in Romania's orphanages at that time. Read more
Published 16 days ago by A. H. Mcharg
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling reading, but not completed yet.
Compelling reading , but not completed yet.
Published 24 days ago by Mr. Brian P. Maley
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I really enjoyed this book. It gives a very good insight into Romanian history. It is extremely well written and holds your interest right until the end.
Published 1 month ago by Sylvie h.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great
Published 4 months ago by Rosemarie Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This book appears to be an eyewitness account of the events in Romania in 1989. It is consistent with what my Romanian friends tell me. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr Alan D Esam
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and fascinating - recommended
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I say 'enjoy' - it isn't always a fun read. It's gripping, though, and feels almost more like a memoir or a documentary. Read more
Published 5 months ago by kindler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful
Published 6 months ago by bbcgoogle
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Brilliant piece of writing!
Published 6 months ago by Marran Grey
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