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The Last of the Savages Paperback – 1 Dec 2009
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'His best work to date' Kate Saunders, Sunday Express 'Giving Scott Fitzgerald's fictional world a modern make-over increasingly engages Jay McInerney's energies as a novelist Like Fitzgerald, he is enthralled by the casualties of affluence, the evanescent good times, the allure of glamour - especially metropolitan chic - and the disenchantment it inexorably brings in its wake' Peter Kemp, Sunday Times 'Nothing less than three decades of Stateside history, in which the changing image of America is embodied in the existential shape-shifting of the main characters' John Walsh, Independent 'An accomplished, courageous novel, beautifully constructed, able to span three decades with ease' Literary Review
From the Inside Flap
From the bestselling author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls comes a chronicle of a generation, as enacted by two men who represent all the passions and extremes of the class of 1969. Patrick Keane and Will Savage meet at prep school at the beginning of the explosive '60s. Over the next 30 years, they remain friends even as they pursue radically divergent destinies--and harbor secrets that defy rebellion and conformity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Easily spanning several decades from the sixties to the eighties, this book follows the story of two totally different best friends, each with totally different, but intertwined lives. Although at times the characters, and indeed the reader, puzzle over how they ever became and remained friends, it is clear that they need each other. With Will's hectic and volatile life style, he needs the stability and solid friendship that Patrick offers, while at the same time Patrick needs Will to keep reminding him of who he really is. After all, it is Will who, in the end, provokes Patrick into telling him the dark secret that has plagued his life ...
A must-have for anyone who enjoys a good read, this book is both entertaining and deeply moving.
McInerney writes from the perspective of Patrick, a suppressed gay, hard working lawyer who struggles with his inner sexuality, juxtaposing this character with that of Will Savage, his best friend and a white junkie who has a deep connection with the black soul music of Mississippi. He at first seems to be careless and carefree, with only his wife and Patrick holding him to the ground. Yet as the novel unfolds, the roles change, and Will becomes the provocation for Patrick's admittance to his true self.
McInerney effortlessly spans decades with his writing, following the boys from their teenage years at boarding school to Patrick's acceptance at University and becoming a lawyer and Will's establishment of a record company. The reader eagerly follows the contrasting stories of both men, constantly amazed by their intertwining lives.
The story, related by Patrick, spans thirty years of their unusual friendship. They have no doubt they are best friends, and keep in touch throughout Will's successes and near failures, and his turbulent life as a notable music producer while Patrick steadily climbs to great success as a lawyer. While the story is predominantly about Will, we gradually learn about Patrick too, and the secret he carries and has revealed to few.
While the story progresses more or less chronologically, it also regularly jumps back and forth, but it never confuses. Covering the period from the sixties to the nineties, it is as much a record of social change, of Southern attitudes and prejudices. The story is peppered with the names of the famous musicians of the period, giving it a sense of reality and an identity easy to related to. It is a story of family, of interracial love, but above all the story of a remarkable friend.
The Last of the Savages is beautifully written, there is drama, there is humour, but above all there is the overriding love and affection of a great and enduring friendship.
The setting for this novel is largely around the American Deep South and stretches from the time when racism was still openly accepted to our more enlightened times. Clearly this is suppose to be the under riding element of the novel, but for me personally the most interesting aspect was the way the two main characters interact with each other.
As stated, this book is not JM's usual stuff. It took me quite a while to get into. At first I was dissappointed, later I grew to like it. Take it with a pinch of salt. There are elements of The Beautiful People, but only as an aside.
Good book or not? Well I think my mother would enjoy it more than I did.
This book is not your typical Jay McInerney novel i.e. does not centre on protagonists based in Manhattan in the 1980s and 90s. The book charts the American landscape throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s and it's a clever book.
The only reason I've given it four stars is because, even though it is an ambitious effort by McInerney, it does not quite reach the heights of some of his works.
Insofar as Jay McInerney, my recommendations would be Bright Lights, Big City, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls and The Good Life and both of his shorty story works, How It Ended and The Last Bachelor.