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 some distance frontiers of the Monroe Doctrine, the place heritage 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 desire for her father. Elena's father does offers. And it's 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 outmoded by way of palms dealing, covert motion, and assassination. The last item He sought after is a travel de force—persuasive in its element, incredible in its ambiguities, mesmerizing in its sort.
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Extra resources for The Last Thing He Wanted
Paul John Eakin, in "Reference in Biography: Henry James and the Fictions of Creativity," and James M. Cox, in "James's Trials in Autobiography" (papers presented before the Henry James Society at the 1985 Modern Language Association Convention) analyze the Portsmouth Grove scene in terms of the way it helped James to believe that he, too, was a participant in the war as a "wounded 'wound-dresser' " in order to offset the embarrassment caused by the "obscure hurt" that supposedly prevented him from entering military service.
He assured her there was nothing left of it, and at this, dropping her embroidery, she got up and came near him. "I needn't tell you at this hour how I've felt for you. But I liked you as you are," she said. "As I am - ? " She stood before him and put out her hand as for his own, which he a little blankly let her take. "Just exactly as you are," she repeated and very tenderly and beautifully kissed it. " she signed as she went back to her place. 39 During the 1920s alone, J. 42 Who is the American, the man of unadulterated good nature and innate nobility of action (as the 1907 conclusion might appear to emphasize through its deletion of any sudden recoil on Newman's part when faced with the fact that he has foolishly discarded his best means for revenge) or the man who has perhaps done "the decent thing" by foregoing vindictiveness but who still experiences an instinctual reversion to that "baser" motive (as the 1877 version largely suggests)?
Appleton's Journal of August 1877 liked The American. " Foreigners, "reading it as a representative American novel, would be sorely puzzled to know if Newman, whom Mr. " The reviewer concludes by questioning whether the bad types of our men and women are not caricatured enough by foreigners; whether it is commendable in American authors not merely to lampoon the national foibles which ought to be lampooned but to paint an illiterate and audacious gawk in a pretendedly fine frame and label him a representative American?