The Last Hundred Days
By Patrick McGuinness
(Bloomsbury USA, Paperback, 9781608199129, 384pp.)
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Once the gleaming "Paris of the East," Bucharest in 1989 is a world of corruption and paranoia, in thrall to the repressive regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. Old landmarks are falling to demolition crews, grocery shelves are empty, and informants are everywhere. Into this state of crisis, a young British man arrives to take a university post he never interviewed for. He is taken under the wing of Leo O’Heix, a colleague and master of the black market, and falls for the sleek Celia, daughter of a party apparatchik. Yet he soon learns that in this society, friendships are compromised, and loyalty is never absolute. And as the regime’s authority falters, he finds himself uncomfortably, then dangerously, close to the eye of the storm.
By turns thrilling and satirical, studded with poetry and understated revelation, The Last Hundred Days captures the commonplace terror of Cold War Eastern Europe. Patrick McGuinness’s first novel is unforgettable.
Patrick McGuinness was born in Tunisia in 1968 and lived in Bucharest in the years leading up to the Romanian revolution. He is a professor of French and comparative literature at Oxford University and a fellow of St. Anne's College. As a poet, he has won an Eric Gregory Award and Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize. His latest collection, Jilted City, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. McGuinness lives between Oxford and North West Wales. His web site is www.patrickmcguinness.org.uk.
Longlisted for the Man Booker PrizeWinner of the Wales Book of the Year PrizeWinner of the Writers Guild Award for Best FictionShortlisted for the Costa First Novel AwardShortlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize Shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award "One of the Best Books of the Year"London Evening Standard - Telegraph - New Statesman "[McGuinness] is observant, reflective, witty and precise. He is capable of combining the essayistic, the lyrical, the humorous and the aphoristic, sometimes within a single paragraph... An incisive and engaging account of a society and a historical period that is essential to remember, especially now." - Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review "A brilliant first novel set in 1989, in the writhing demise of communist Bucharest -- dark, immaculately written, bitterly lucid and very gripping." - James Wood, New Statesman "Books of the Year" "A coming-of-age story with a vivid historical backdrop... The sharply observant McGuinness has filled his novel with quick, witty descriptions of people, places and situations... McGuinness does more, however, than explore how people acted in this now transformed country. He's captured the way corruption and tyranny warp behavior in any society." - Carole Burns, The Washington Post "[A] memorable story about a pivotal moment in history." - Kevin Canfield, Kansas City Star