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Last Hundred Days [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Patrick McGuinness
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1. Juni 2011
The socialist state is in crisis, the shops are empty and old Bucharest vanishes daily under the onslaught of Ceaucescu's demolition gangs. Paranoia is pervasive and secret service men lurk in the shadows. In The Last 100 Days, Patrick McGuinness creates an absorbing sense of time and place as the city struggles to survive this intense moment in history. He evokes a world of extremity and ravaged beauty from the viewpoint of an outsider uncomfortably, and often dangerously, close to the eye of the storm as the regime of 1980s Romania crumbles to a bloody end.

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  • Taschenbuch: 377 Seiten
  • Verlag: Seren (1. Juni 2011)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1854115413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854115416
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 3 x 13,3 x 20,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 53.116 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

Mehr über den Autor

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"...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

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

A professor of French and Comparative Literature at Oxford University and a Fellow of St Anne's College where he has taught since 1998. He lives in North West Wales. Carcanet publishes his poetry and he has won an Eric Gregory Award, the American Poetry Foundation Levinson Prize in 2003 and Poetry Business Prize in 2006.

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Polit-real-Krimi 31. Juli 2013
Von wolfgang
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Dieses Buch hat alles, was ein spannendes Buch haben muss:
- eine Story mit vielen überraschenden Wendungen
- nahe am "wirklichen Leben"
- schillernde Figuren
und eine packende (weil nachfühlbare} Schilderung der Atmosphäre im Buharest der letzten Ceaucescu-Tage.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  11 Rezensionen
17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Evocative - feels like non-fiction 2. September 2011
Von Ripple - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
"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. You might also argue that a junior, expat teacher wouldn't have access to the relatively senior members of the regime that this book suggests.

Yet for all this, it doesn't read like a work of fiction. It reads more like a cocktail of one part Le Carré, one part one of those accounts by British journalists of the last days of a regime and, what makes this so readable, one part Bill Bryson at his light hearted best at pointing out the ridiculousness of situations. The Bryson element is provided by the narrator's expat friend, Leo, another teacher in the department who has all the best lines. Leo is involved in the black market and has enough detachment to comment on things but enough inside information to know what's going on.

McGuinness portrays very well the danger and corruption of the regime and what it is like when everyone is watching everyone else and no one can be trusted. We see a mixture of dissidents, party apparatchiks, spies and ordinary people struggling to protect their own interests under Ceau'escu's crazy world. Of course, like any good Eastern bloc story, we also get the "man from the ministry", here in the form of a fairly ineffective British diplomat who is also struggling to make sense of what is happening.

It's a difficult book to categorise. It is fiction, but it feels like non-fiction. It has spy elements, but it isn't a conventional spy plot of good versus evil. It is often satirical and funny, but the situation is far from that. After a slow beginning, I was hooked.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "He could not be trusted. I was used to that. But was he untrustworthy in ways I could rely on?" 10. Juni 2012
Von Mary Whipple - Veröffentlicht auf
By 1989 Nicolae Ceausescu had been the communist ruler of Romania for twenty-four years. This was to be his last year. Focusing on Ceausescu's last hundred days, author Patrick McGuinness recreates all the forces leading to the overthrow of the government, telling his story through the eyes of an unnamed twenty-one-year-old speaker from the UK. To escape terribly memories at home, the young man applied for a foreign posting and was given a job teaching English in Bucharest, a job for which he had neither applied nor appeared for an interview.

In Bucharest his mentor, Leo O'Heix, shows him "the Paris of the East," which now more clearly resembles "a deserted funfair." The elegant Capsa Hotel, where the waiters have been trained in French manners, serves Chateaubriand "while in the shops beyond, unstacked shelves gleamed under twists of flypaper and the crimeless streets shouldered their burden of emptiness." At Capsa, the party faithful and the moneyed come to make connections, negotiate personal deals, and enjoy food not available anywhere else. "It's all here, passion, intimacy, human fellowship," Leo tells him. "You just need to adapt to the's a bit of a grey area to be honest.'s all grey area round here," but this is "the Romanian way," the speaker learns, and it is adapt or get out. Leo has adapted to Romanian life completely - he is Bucharest's biggest black-marketeer.

Gradually, Bucharest comes to life (and death) through the speaker's eyes. The city is being bulldozed at a rapid rate, and the old architectural monuments and historical buildings are being replaced with cheap, modern buildings. Shop signs appear on new buildings, but the shops are empty. Hungry people wait for hours in long lines, only to discover that it has run out. Even the headstones have disappeared from cemeteries, removed by the government for use in building the People's Palace, a colossal monument begun in 1983 and second in size only to the U.S. Pentagon. The "velvet revolution" has started everywhere except Romania - East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and even Russia - yet Ceausescu remains in power here.

The author does a remarkable job of recreating Bucharest, which is really the main character here, a place with incredible resilience, around which all the human characters revolve as the author connects them with the city's history, its communist functionaries, its "flexible" morality, and its often inflexible laws and dictates. The speaker finds himself growing up as he makes choices or has them made for him, and he eventually adapts to being followed. No one is who s/he seems to be, and the tension rises as the speaker and his friends find themselves in increasingly fraught circumstances. The reader, familiar with the characters, comes to know and expect them to act in particular ways, but often discovers at the last minute betrayals have occurred. The author is particularly realistic in making no real value judgments about most of these characters, even those who may act "unethically." In times of such crisis, who knows what any of us would do, he seems to suggest. Subtle, often humorous, and profoundly ironic, this is a unique approach to a study of a city in the midst of evolution and then revolution and its aftermath, and none of the characters here will remain unchanged. Fascinating on all levels. Mary Whipple
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Shades of Gray 16. Januar 2012
Von Jeffrey Swystun - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
The nations of the former Soviet Union always come across in fiction as bleak, gray, and dispiriting. The Bucharest of 1989 in McGuinness' novel is indeed one big surreal, gray backdrop. Nicolae Ceau'escu's sinister state has always intrigued me more than other Eastern European nations during the Cold War. It is a study in the pursuit of absolute power along with the associated ironies, inconsistencies, and major hypocrisies. The story follows a young Englishman who plunges into the culture, politics, and underground economies that are rapidly coming to an end. That the Romanian leader was so unaware of the reality of his position astounds in history and in fiction.

The book was wildly entertaining and lays bare both the triumph and troubles of regime change. It moves with speed and all characters are plausible avatars for real historical players. Aspects of the tone and atmosphere reminded me of Olen Steinhauer's five book series covering a fictional Eastern European nation through decades of Soviet stewardship, as well, the plot it is not unlike The Last King of Scotland except the main character does not directly rub shoulders with Comrade Ceau'escu (or his bizarre wife). I am very pleased to have found this novel and recommend it especially to those interested in this period of history.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Romanian tragedy the stage for political liberation and personal redemption 23. August 2013
Von keetmom - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
This book is quite unlike any other that I have read. I knew very little beyond the media headlines about what happened in Romania between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the overthrow of the Ceausescu Regime. Now that I have finished "The Last 100 days" I feel like I was there myself. Such is the power of Patrick McGuinesses's writing, you feel totally enveloped by it all - the sights, sounds and smells surround you and the bizarre banality of daily life is revealed in clear, brutal detail. This is a totally absorbing, multi-layered read - part travelogue, part political primer, part romance and part delayed coming of age epic.

Behind the political story and helping you make sense of it, is a powerful personal narrative. A disengaged young Briton, lacking focus and struggling to resolve a host of personal issues lands up in Romania and gets propelled into relationships and activities he doesn't fully understand. Everywhere he seems to stumble over the tracks of his mysterious predecessor, in the process uncovering the more sinister aspects of Romanian life. As he grows in conviction and courage, so the dictatorship starts to crumble until he finally emerges as a different man, embracing an altogether different future.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Good 29. Dezember 2012
Von Andrew Collier - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
This item was just as it was described in the posting and I was very happy with the quality. Thanks!
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