The Last Thing He WantedPaperback
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- Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
- Format: Paperback | 238 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 197mm x 16mm | 170g
- Publication date: 10 November 2011
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0007454244
- ISBN 13: 9780007454242
- Sales rank: 260,533
A thrilling and exhilarating exploration of U.S. politics in Central America from Joan Didion, the hugely acclaimed author of The Year of Magical Thinking. It is 1984. Journalist Elena McMahon, watching her evasive, gruff father's life ebbing away before her, clutches at understanding him to grasp little more than air. But harder, keener forces impel her to do his bidding, to go naked into a 'situation' in Central America, because 'things were hotting up again'.
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Joan Didion is one of America's most respected writers, her work constituting some of the greatest portraits of modern-day American culture. Over the four decades of her career, she has produced widely-acclaimed journalistic essays, personal essays, novels, non-fiction, memoir and screenplays. Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award in 2005.
' 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 Mail
This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion's incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not working as they should and where the oblique and official language is as sinister as the events it is covering up. The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband, Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the 1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick's business though "she had trained herself since childhood not to have any interest in what he was doing." It is from this moment that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed Caribbean island. Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra, and Castro, and points up how "spectral companies with high-concept names tended to interlock." As this book builds to its terrifying finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly. This is our system, the one "trying to create a context for democracy and getting [its] hands a little dirty in the process."