By Joan Didion
In her first novel in twelve years, the mythical writer of Play It because it Lays and Slouching towards Bethlehem trains her eye at the a ways frontiers of the Monroe Doctrine, the place background dissolves into conspiracy (Dallas in 1963, Iran Contra in 1984), and models an ethical mystery as hypnotic and provacative as any through Joseph Conrad or Graham Greene.
In that latter yr Elena McMahon walks off the presidential crusade she has been masking for a huge newspaper to do a want for her father. Elena's father does offers. And it really is whereas appearing as his agent in a single such deal—a deal that presently is going spectacularly wrong—that she reveals herself on an island the place tourism has been outdated by means of hands dealing, covert motion, and assassination. The very last thing He sought after is a journey de force—persuasive in its element, wonderful in its ambiguities, captivating in its type.
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Extra info for The Last Thing He Wanted
About the nature, meaning, and value of ‘the real thing’ . . found it to be the real thing” (viii). Its marvelously convoluted irony notwithstanding, this sly remark, originally directed toward the small but dedicated group of Gaddis’s followers, rings with an important truth about the nature of writing in general: any literary text, regardless of cautionary stylistic devices such as irony or self-referentiality, is likely to be taken by readers as more authentic than the reality it re®ects upon.
Been posited as a utopian space within modernity” (93). For both artists and the cultural elites, who cherished and ¤nanced their aesthetic endeavors, art represented a redemptive symbolic site where the negative aspects of mass society and rationalization were allegedly suspended. Sasse aptly describes the ambiguous role that art played as a sanctuary for the endangered autonomy of the modern self: “As a functionally differentiated space, art under modern conditions is at once structurally equivalent to other differentiated activities and burdened with the primary function of sublating differentiation in a reconciliatory manner” (87).
The young composer Bast in J R is taken in by J R’s con¤dence scheme and then goes along with it. He’s writing commercial music—zebra music—instead of creating what he is supposed to be creating. Wyatt in The Recognitions knows what he is doing when he paints his forgeries. Anyone who reads both books carefully sees the artists digging their own graves all the time, often calling in the commercial world to help them. The suggestion that I write about business destroying the innocent artist is simplistic.
The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion