A posthumous debut novel, wry, wise, and outrageous, from award-winning journalist Michael Hastings, based on his experiences working for a National news magazine in the mid-2000s.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
MICHAEL HASTINGS was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and a correspondent at large for BuzzFeed. He covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Hastings was the author of three books, I Lost My Love in Baghdad, Panic 2012, and The Operators. He died in 2013.
What People are Saying About This
“What a novel it is! Tenacity and perseverance were the qualities that helped Hastings become a star reporter for GQ and Rolling Stone, and they inform the novel’s narrative, creating a story as engrossing as it is believable. While the characters are not always likable, they are unfailingly engaging. And the breakneck pace of the narrative is so unrelenting, it makes you wonder if Hastings lived as he wrote.” –Newsweek
“Even from the grave Mr. Hastings has demonstrated anew an ability to reframe the debate. The novel….reads as vivid archaeology that reveals much about the present moment… The milieu of the book paints a picture of a treehouse where like minds connive and look for an opening. But far below them, there is the sound of sawing – steady and implacable. The tree will fall….Remarkable.”—David Carr, The New York Times
“Scathing, funny, rollicking.”—The Barnes and Noble Review
“Frenetic and darkly funny.” – Rolling Stone
“Terrifyingly funny ….entrancing, compelling.” – Shelf Awareness
“The Last Magazine is tender and brutal, worldly and inbred, high-minded and gross, smartly rendered and rough around the edges — and quite often hilarious…The Last Magazine is the funniest, most savage takedown of the American news media since Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, by his hero Hunter S. Thompson.”—James Rosen, The Washington Post
“[The Last Magazine] is fast and funny and humane. When I put it down, it called to be picked up again.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“What makes this novel work—really, I can’t think of a better little tome to take to the beach—is that it’s just so much fun, so wicked, so amusing, and so brilliantly observed. The caricatures of people living and dead (career-wise) are only part of its charm. I haven’t read a better send-up of hackery since the last time I dove into Evelyn Waugh’s 1938 classic Scoop.”—Christopher Dickey, The Daily Beast
“As a provocative piece of thinly fictionalized nonfiction, [The Last Magazine] is a posthumous mission accomplished…Hastings’s book is a message in a bottle that has belatedly washed up on shore to force us to remember how we landed where we are now.”—Frank Rich, New York Magazine
“That voice. That witty, subversive voice we thought we'd lost, is back for one last romp. Hastings decodes the culture even more incisively in fiction, with wild bursts of imaginative mischief. So damn funny.”—Dave Cullen, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine
“[Hastings’] keen eye for the creatures of the New York media universe focuses on the fabricated lifestyles of that world's desperate inhabitants. Here, no one is immune….The suffering amid the insufferable is comic gold, and Hastings had no time for heroes. The world he created is filled with lost boys stamping their feet for validation. This could be the perfect summer bro comedy. Paging Judd Apatow!”—Mark Guarino, Chicago Tribune
“A convincing account of the perils of war -- and of the journalistic wars of an institution under siege from New Media…. The Last Magazine remains a loving account of a profession Hastings believed was honorable and tried to honor. Only the guilty have something to fear.” –Paul Wilner, San Francisco Chronicle
“Surely Michael Hastings would have savored the taste of revenge had he lived to see his first novel, The Last Magazine published…The humor throughout is searing….entertaining.”—Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News
"Remarkable... Hastings, the novelist, reminds one at times of the early Robert Stone." —Booklist
"A messy, caustic and very funny satire.... A ribald comedy about doing time in the trenches and the bitter choices that integrity demands." --Kirkus
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well written, if a bit unusual. Something of a page turner. Easy, fun and maybe a little educational about goings on inside a publication. Recommended for the beach.
Definitely a page-turner, reminiscent of Hunter Thompson in depicting some of the excesses. The main character, A. E. Peoria, is fascinating and surprisingly sympathetic. The humor isn't the laugh-out-loud variety, much more tongue-in-cheek and sly. While it is clear that he was narrating real events and depicting real people, I never felt he was taking cheap shots at anyone. The real life A. E. Peoria character says as much also. Very glad that I bought the book. I was aware that Hastings was dead before I read it, but was very sad about it when I finished.
I blurbed this book, so I'll start with that, then expand: That voice. That witty, subversive voice we thought we'd lost, is back for one last romp. Hastings decodes the culture even more incisively in fiction, with wild bursts of imaginative mischief. So damn funny. Too salesy? I hope not. So much to pack in there, and especially, I wanted to convey the giddiness I felt snickering my way through. I could hardly believe it. I missed Mike desperately, and there was everything I loved about him, everything that made him so special, the one living journalist I most looked up to, captured vividly on the page. So there's my disclaimer: Mike was a friend. Stop there if you think I'm too biased. But it affected me deeply as a writer, and as someone working in a version of the same field, frequently appalled and furious at the profession. As I've raved about the book pre-publication, I've found myself confessing that it's hard to be objective, but that's not actually true: My writer friends and I exchange work all the time, and they shudder at my critiques. I'm harsh and demanding, especially from those I respect most, and to be honest, I was terrified to read this: What if Mike couldn't pull off fiction? What if it wasn't his best work? I never dreamed that it would literally be his best work. In my opinion, it is. If you thought you loved his voice in nonfiction, when he was still constrained by the form, wait to you hear him unshackled and unfettered in fiction. Kind of glorious to behold. God, I wish he'd plunged into fiction deeper, sooner. This book is described as a satire of the media, and at least 2/3 of it is, brilliantly, but it's so much more. One by one, he takes us deep inside so many cultural institutions, and shows us how absurdly they operate: war, media, even a hilarious bit on the airlines that had me howling and nodding. (pp. 29-31. That's when I knew that I was unabashedly in love with this book. Try that if you're looking for an excerpt. Search the phrase, "A.E. Peoria sits in first class..." Every page I was nodding, because Mike had this incredible cultural x-ray sort of capacity to see right through the fog of cultural wars, take us readers right past all that, into the inside to see how it operates: who is pulling the levers and why. The scary part for me, as a writer, was 1/3 of the way through, I set the book down, and had a serious argument with myself about whether I had to stop reading. The war sections were covering the same ground as my next book, and I was starting to feel panicky that I couldn't match it. (That debilitating intimidation has happened to me exactly twice before: reading "In Cold Blood" while writing "Columbine," and rereading "All Quiet On The Western Front" while working on my soldiers' book. And now "The Last Magazine." Pretty lofty company.) That was my actual experience reading this--so I'm pretty sure I was feeling more than just admiration for a friend. (FYI, the war receded as a primary focus as the novel progressed, but I didn't know that at the time. And for the record, I got over the intimidation each time. But it fucked with me.) This novel is a mischievous and cutting satire, and boy does Mike lay the media bare. You may think you've seen that before, because Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been masterfully eviscerating it nightly. But those guys are skewering the media from the outside. They've got TVs lined up in the writers' rooms watching CNN and Fox and MSNBC like the rest of us. They can and do tell us HOW the media is fucking it up, but if you want to understand WHY all that perplexing sewage keeps spilling out, you need an insider. Mike lived it. Mike inhabited that self-perpetuating bullshit machinery. And here he's laying it bare. People assume it's all about ratings, but that doesn't explain the half of it. Fuck the show's ratings, or the magazine sales, it's about PERSONAL stature. It's about opportunism, cowardice, personality branding. All of that comes to life in this book. It's about clever use of a question mark. I don't want to go any further without a spoiler, but there is an amazing use of a question mark in a crucial headline in this book that reveals so much about how a news organization can shamelessly, selfishly beat the drum for and against the same war. Mike had an amazing eye for the telling detail, and a keen bullshit-detector. So if you were offended by my use of "fuck" up there, this book might not be for you. It is not polite. Sometimes ruthless, even savage, but always dead-on. Mike illustrates a pitch-perfect ear for voice and dialogue and It's all rendered beautifully, through the eyes of (mostly) young men, who are not mincing words, or acting delicately. There are a handful of pretty wild, graphic sexcapades, which for me, beautifully colored the life of these characters--and while avoiding spoilers, a certain juxtaposition of war, porn and news is deftly handled and revealing about all three, as well as the young men engaging in them. If that's going to offend you, be prepared to skip a few pages, or skip this book. It's pretty damn gonzo. If you hate gonzo, you know who you are. If you hated Denis Johnson's "Jesus' Son," don't even consider this. "Jesus' Son" is one of my all-time favorites and I kept recalling it as I read: in the brutal honesty and vivid insights each book captured about its characters. Also, I was reminded of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" (which I'm still reading, and LOVING), for the same reason, particularly the feeling and intensity of youngish artists (writers, musicians, whatever), and perhaps particularly in NYC at this moment in time. The tormented inner lives of the "fictional" Hastings and especially the A.E. Peoria he was projecting himself growing into--Peoria's fears, aspirations, his shaky identity as a magazine writer and the tenuous nature of making both your living and your hopeful contribution by typing shit on a screen ... These characters were so powerful and so real, it felt like someone had been listening in to all the conversations in my head. That was unsettling for me. The passage on p. 240, when "Hastings" (the first-person narrator) says about Peoria, "Yes, the career had been his life...his id, his ego, and his soul. He didn't know it at the time. ... He just took pills and got drunk and ..." And then he made one mistake... God, it sounded like Mike had been listening into the arguments in my head. But he wrote it before he met me. Is this what all writers feel? All artists? Just certain kinds? I had no idea Mike was so haunted by the myth of Icarus, leaping out at him from among all the Greek myths, just as it did for me. For you? I actually hope to hear from other writers and artists about their reactions. (Perhaps in the comments?) For me, personally, this was as much a portrait of two earnest but ambitious young artists trying to make a lasting impact on the world--and how that can run horribly astray. It's a brilliant take-down of the media, too, for sure, but don't miss the richer personal story a quarter inch beneath the surface. This is an Icarus tale. It's consistently witty and insightful and it's immediately so there. Just a stunning piece of work. Best book I've read all year.
Just that - marginal. The book got lost a few times. Many things were left in the air.
Pads in and hunts.
Kiss your and three times post this on three other books and check under your pillow.