The Last Hundred Days
Published by Seren
Shortlisted for the 2011 Costa First Novel Award.
Longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
Winner of 2012 Wales Book of the Year.
New Statesman Book of the Year 2011.
“Drags you through the smoky backrooms of the dying days of Communist Romania. Funny, insightful and compelling.”
Costa Prize Judges, 2011
The socialist state is in crisis, the shops are empty, and old Bucharest vanishes daily under the onslaught of Ceaucescu’s demolition gangs. Paranoia is pervasive and secret service men lurk in the shadows...
In The Last Hundred Days, Patrick McGuinness creates an absorbing sense of time and place as the city struggles to survive this intense moment of history. He evokes a world of extremity and ravaged beauty, close to the eye of the storm as the regime of 1980s Romania crumbles to a bloody end.
"I defy anyone not to revel in 350-odd pages of it at least."
Time Out, ****
"Sinister, comic and lyrical, it vividly captures the end of a long nightmare."
"The descriptions are moments of total stillness in the book, and it's spellbinding." We Love This Book
"The opening chapter is superb. McGuinness is an accomplished poet and writes with superb clarity. The novel is littered with aperçus that have the reader reaching for a pencil."
"The Last Hundred Days is an ambitious work, at ease with intimacy as well as with the sudden eruption of crowd scenes as the regime disintegrates and re-forms itself. It manages to be both funny and horrifying, sceptical but not fatally poisoned by the encounter. Above all, the sardonic crispness and evocative power of its language distinguishes it from the run of contemporary fiction."
Sean O'Brien, TLS
"'I am a camera," declared another poet in an autobiographical novel about a country in crisis. From the cabarets and the lodging houses, Christopher Isherwood recorded Germany's slouch towards nazism, and Isherwood's Berlin novels come to mind in reading The Last Hundred Days. But McGuinness knows that cameras lie and photographs can be doctored. With his view from the university and the nightclubs, he offers something more complicit and more sceptical about its own objectivity, a glimpse of the moment when Romania's cold war began to thaw."
James Purdon, The Observer
“McGuinness’s contribution is harsh and witty... The pessimism is invigorating, and Jilted City grows more powerful with each rereading.”
The Guardian on Jilted City
Patrick McGuinness is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Oxford University and a Fellow of St Anne’s College where he has taught since 1998. He lives in north-west Wales. His poetry is published by Carcanet: his latest collection being Jilted City (2010). He has won an Eric Gregory Award, as well as the American Poetry Foundation’s Levinson Prize in 2003 and the Poetry Business Prize in 2006. He frequently writes and presents for Radio 3 and 4, on poetry, French culture and his own work as a poet and translator. His translation of Stephane Mallarme’s For Anatole’s Tomb was the Poetry Book Society’s Translation Choice in 2004. His other books include studies of theatre, French culture and literature. Patrick is also a frequent contributor to the TLS and the London Review of Books, and reads and speaks at literary festivals in the UK , the US, Canada, France, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy.