The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness

59%

17 Critic Reviews

At the end, it’s not only the regime that falls apart, as the narrator dithers over whether to stay and confront his rumored nemesis. A clunky debut lacking suspense.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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 Ceau?escu. 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.
 

About Patrick McGuinness

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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.
 
Published May 22, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 384 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Last Hundred Days
All: 17 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Below average
on Mar 19 2012

At the end, it’s not only the regime that falls apart, as the narrator dithers over whether to stay and confront his rumored nemesis. A clunky debut lacking suspense.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Francine Prose on Jun 08 2012

...an incisive and engaging account of a society and a historical period that is essential to remember, especially now...

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by James Purdon on Aug 13 2011

....he offers something more complicit and more sceptical about its own objectivity, a glimpse of the moment when Romania's cold war began to thaw.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Mar 19 2012

There are shortcomings: Cilea, the most interesting character after the city itself, disappears halfway; and Leo’s pontifications, including a reading of “Shelley’s Ozyman-descu,” underscore the ironies too heavily.

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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Stephen Finucan on Jul 21 2012

The Last Hundred Days is engaging on every level. As a political thriller, it captures the murky world of cross and double-cross with the aplomb of a le Carré; as an historical fiction, it pulls back the iron curtain to reveal the truth.

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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Stephen Finucan on Jul 21 2012

The Last Hundred Days is engaging on every level.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Richard Gwyn on Sep 08 2011

This is a novel that rages and flows by turn, but rarely disappoints.

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The Bookbag

Below average
Reviewed by Robin Leggett

However the biggest challenge is that the book has a fairly tenuous relationship to anything that would conventionally be called a plot.

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Alternative Magazine Online

Below average
Reviewed by Ian McCabe on Oct 11 2011

...can be a slog to get through and feel slightly convoluted.

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Propeller Quarterly

Excellent
Reviewed by Paul Kind

McGuinness accomplishes this through expert use of the images and tropes of the detective-noir and thriller genres.

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Stephen Tall

Excellent
Reviewed by Stephen Tall on Oct 14 2011

It is saturated with deliciously quotable lines... and piercing insight into the ennui of authoritarianism.

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Seeing the World Through Books

Good
Reviewed by Mary Whipple on Jun 09 2012

Subtle, often humorous, and profoundly ironic... Fascinating on all levels.

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Lucybird's Book Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Lucy on Apr 22 2012

The atmosphere was built really well, and I loved some of the characters.

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Rosario's Reading Journal

Good
Reviewed by Rosario on Nov 17 2011

...the writing is actually clean and relatively spare, it's just that he has a knack for choosing words and imagery that feel fresh and absolutely perfect.

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His Futile Preoccupations

Good
Jun 13 2012

this superb book, exquisitely written and told through the eyes by a slightly stunned narrator... will resonate for a long time to come.

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Nicki Markus

Below average
Reviewed by Nicki Markus on Apr 28 2012

McGuinness' prose is wonderfully descriptive and full of the sights and sounds (and even the smells) of the place, creating a realistic and fascinating setting.

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Insights from the Sightless

Below average
Reviewed by Spencer McLean on Jan 17 2012

A grim tale of end times and how, inevitably, they are nothing more than the beginning of the next chapter of the same, tired story.

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Reader Rating for The Last Hundred Days
92%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 14 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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