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The Last Hundred Days (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juni 2011

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  • Taschenbuch: 356 Seiten
  • Verlag: Poetry Wales Press (1. Juni 2011)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1854115413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854115416
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 20,6 x 13,5 x 3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 187.365 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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“[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

-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

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.

-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.


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Von wolfgang am 31. Juli 2013
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter 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.
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Amazon.com: 13 Rezensionen
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Evocative - feels like non-fiction 2. September 2011
Von Ripple - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
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 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
"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 Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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 circumstances...it's a bit of a grey area to be honest. Actually...it'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 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Shades of Gray 16. Januar 2012
Von Jeffrey Swystun - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
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.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good to the end 28. November 2014
Von Debbie D - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Excellent writing. Feels like you are experiencing Bucarest under Ceaușescu.
Through the looking glass of Ceauçescu's Romania 31. August 2015
Von mary langlois - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Seen through the eyes of a naive young English teacher who arrives just in time to experience the paranoia of a totalitarian state, and its downfall,
our narrator slowly learns that there can be no true, fixed moral stance when every action, every remark is subject to multiple layers of consequence for himself and others. A fascinating, breathless account of how he and the people he encounters navigate the treacherous waters of a system about to collapse.
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