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The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion
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The Last Thing He Wanted (edition 1997)

by Joan Didion (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
532734,436 (3.41)8
This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion's incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not working as they should and where the oblique and official language is as sinister as the events it is covering up. The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband, Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the 1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick's business though "she had trained herself since childhood not to have any interest in what he was doing." It is from this moment that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed Caribbean island. Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra, and Castro, and points up how "spectral companies with high-concept names tended to interlock." As this book builds to its terrifying finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly. This is our system, the one "trying to create a context for democracy and getting [its] hands a little dirty in the process."… (more)
Member:claudecat
Title:The Last Thing He Wanted
Authors:Joan Didion (Author)
Info:Vintage (1997), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Having never read Joan Didion before, I was expecting great things from her writing. The premise of this novel got my attention, yet I was unimpressed by the writing and had a hard time following the story. This would have been okay, if the character development had been really amazing, but that too fell flat. I don't think I'll be reading any more Didion any time soon. ( )
  bookishtexpat | May 21, 2020 |
for reasons i don't understand, i expected more from joan didion. it was pretty lousy.
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
One of the best books I've read. Loved it. ( )
  andreago12 | Apr 26, 2014 |
  living2read | Jul 23, 2008 |
The Last Thing He Wanted is a political drama mixed with a romance. Not a great combination. Not some of Didion's best work. ( )
  Djupstrom | Apr 26, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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This books is for Quintana and for John
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Some real things have happened lately.
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This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion's incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not working as they should and where the oblique and official language is as sinister as the events it is covering up. The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband, Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the 1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick's business though "she had trained herself since childhood not to have any interest in what he was doing." It is from this moment that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed Caribbean island. Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra, and Castro, and points up how "spectral companies with high-concept names tended to interlock." As this book builds to its terrifying finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly. This is our system, the one "trying to create a context for democracy and getting [its] hands a little dirty in the process."

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