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The Last Thing He Wanted
by Joan Didion
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679752854, Paperback)Elena McMahon is a reporter for the Washington Post and the unlikely inheritor of her father's complex and secretive life as an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America. The year is 1984, and as she flies to an unnamed island off the coast of Costa Rica, she is oblivious to the spies, American military personnel, and the consequences of her father's errors that await her. She's also unprepared for the advances of Treat Morrison, an American diplomat whose service under six administrations has made him a "crisis junkie." Treat narrates this story, offering a unique perspective on Elena, a woman who abandons one life for another.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 07 Jan 2013 06:30:44 -0500)
This is a story that begins when Elena McMahon, estranged from her powerful husband in California and covering the 1984 primary campaign for the Washington Post, makes her way to Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon, who does deals. Tracing Elena's fevered trajectory, the narrator makes it clear that this is her version of what happened, not the version offered by the F.B.I. interviews or by Senator Mark Berquist or by the late Ambassador-at-Large Treat Morrisson. What happens is a story that shifts quickly from Elena's well-mapped life expensive people and political fund-raisers to a journey without maps, an investigation into the randomness of history, into intentions spun out of control and gone wrong, arms dealing, covert action, assassination. As connections are made between November 22, 1963, and Iran-Contra and Castro and Cuba, we begin to see what the narrator/author calls history's subtext.Joan Didion has given us an exploration of menace and ellipsis charged with irony, exciting in its storytelling and intellectual reach - a story that clicks into place only in the final pages.
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