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Last Last Chanceby Fiona Maazel
Synopses & Reviews
Last Last Chance, Fiona Maazel's first novel, is one of the most distinctive debuts of recent years: a rollicking comic tale about (in no particular order) plague, narcotics recovery, and reincarnation.
A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic — and the world thinks Lucy Clark's dead father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead and pagan theologist. There's her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Lastly, there's her grandmother Agneth, who believes in reincarnation (and who turns out to be right). And then there is Lucy herself, whose wise, warped approach to life makes her an ideal guide to love among the ruins. Romping across the country, from Southern California to the Texas desert to rural Pennsylvania and New York City, Lucy tries to surmount her drug addiction and to keep her family intact — and tells us, uproariously, all about it.
Last Last Chance is a novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and despair, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety. It introduces Maazel as a new writer of phenomenal gifts.
"A sprawling debut with an alternately absurdist and sardonic tone, Maazel's debut follows the tribulations of Lucy, a young drug addict who works at a New York City kosher chicken plant. Lucy's father was a Centers for Disease Control bigwig who's recently committed suicide, presumably due to fallout from his perceived role in an outbreak of plague that is spreading across America. Her mother, Isifrid, is a crack-addled gazillionaire, while grandmother Agneth talks incessantly of reincarnation, and younger half-sister Hannah harbors a huge obsession with disease. As the novel opens, Lucy sets off with her alcoholic, over-50 co-worker, Stanley, to attend the wedding of her best friend, Kam — who is marrying Eric, whom Lucy met first and fell in love with. After some hijinks, Lucy heads to a rehab facility in Texas. Over the course of Lucy's wild road trip, Maazel, daughter of conductor Loren, delivers some electric writing: the novel is brimming with wit, ideas and delightfully screwball humor. But the whimsy undermines the story, especially on the abundant substance abuse material. The novel's earnest, surprising conclusion feels out of sync with the zingy, existential banter of its core." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose." New York Times
"Read this book now for the sentence-by-sentence brilliance of Maazel's inimitable voice, and enjoy it to the finish for its sophisticated and vulnerable portrayal of survival — of the individual and the world-at-large, despite so much stacked against both. Maazel was born in 1975, but her imagination has been on fire for 1000 years." Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End
"Somehow Fiona Maazel has made plague funny and the drug recovery narrative, ossified by predictable writers and their wounds, fresh and moving again. Last Last Chance is a stylish first wonder." Sam Lipsyte
"Last Last Chance is not for the faint of heart or dim of humour. It's wicked, witty, a little whacked and surprisingly warm: what more did you want?" Wesley Stace, author of Misfortune and By George
"You have to look to Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son for a narrative voice as darkly funny and drug-inflected as Maazel's. This sprawling, wonderfully digressive novel is up to the task at hand: love at the end of the world as we know it." Amy Hempel
"Fiona Maazel's novel Last Last Chance turns heartsickness, family dysfunction, substance abuse and a superplague into the sharpest — and most forgiving — comedy you will find between two covers. It is an absurdist generational saga that ranges widely for its wisdom, shows no mercy in its satire, and stakes out hopeful truths to dwell in during troubling times." Benjamin Anastas, author of An Underachiever's Diary and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor's Disappearance
"Vigor in every line and a wit about bodies, drugs and plague that forms a positively original voice of our day." Barry Hannah, author of Yonder Stands Your Orphan
"Maazel's descriptive powers are strong, and she captures the alternating hope and despair of her complex and quirky characters as they confront the unknown and the unknowable." Library Journal
"Maazel's novel succeeds because she avoids clichés populating rehab narratives." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[F]uses the outrageous apocalyptic vision of Chuck Palahniuk's fiction and the cerebral dark comedy of Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics....[Maazel] has pulled off a remarkable feat of the imagination." Newsday
Maazel's first novel is one of the most distinctive debuts of recent years: arollicking comic tale about plagues, narcotics recovery, and reincarnation inan age of anxiety.
A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year
Named one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35 by the National Book Foundation
Includes an Author Interview and Discussion Questions
A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead; her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Finally, there's Lucy herself, who tries to surmount her drug addiction and keep her family intact in this brilliant novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and apocalypse, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety.
About the Author
Fiona Maazel, born in 1975, was the 2005 Lannan Foundation fiction fellow. She lives in Brooklyn.
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