Talk and Book Presentation by Patrick McGuinness
Hosted by Dr Mike Phillips OBE, British novelist , historian and curator. Followed by a Q&A session
“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.”
Review by Sean O’Brien, Times Literary Supplement, 11 August 2011
The Last Hundred Days was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011
Set during Ceausescu’s last hundred days in power, Patrick McGuinness’s accomplished debut novel explores a world of danger, repression and corruption.
When our narrator, a young English student with a damaged past and an uncertain future, arrives in Bucharest he finds himself in a job he never applied for. With duties that become increasingly ambiguous and precarious, he soon finds himself uncomfortably and often dangerously close to the eye of the storm. He learns, as he goes on, the uncertainty of friendships in a surveillance society: friendships that are compromised and riddled with danger and duplicity. He encounters dissidents, party apparatchiks, black-marketeers, diplomats, spies and ordinary Romanians, their lives all intertwined against a background of severe poverty and repression as Europe’s most paranoid regime plays out its bloody endgame.
The socialist state is in stasis, the shops are empty and old Bucharest vanishes daily under the onslaught of Ceausescu’s demolition gangs. Paranoia is pervasive and secret service men lurk in the shadows.
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. Carcanet publishes his poetry and he has won an Eric Gregory Award, the American Poetry Foundation Levinson Prize in 2003 and Poetry Business Prize in 2006.
The Last Hundred Days is his first novel.
THE LAST HUNDRED DAYS
by Patrick McGuinness. Seren, June 2011 • Paperback, 356 pages, RRP: £8.99 • ISBN-13: 978-185411541.
Available to buy online from Amazon.co.uk and www.serenbooks.com , as well as from all good bookshops.
The book will also be available to buy on the evening, and the author will sign copies.
Dr Mike Phillips OBE is a novelist, historian and curator, consultant to various cultural organisations across Europe.
Organised by The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre in London.
Culture Power is a programme initiated by the Ratiu Foundation, consisting of a number of presentations and constructive dialogue with an invited audience.