The Last Magazine
― Michael Hastings, The Last Magazine
One of my big regrets over the last couple years is that I never met Michael Hastings. He wrote some of the great long-form journalism pieces for Rolling Stone during the last decade (The Runaway General & Bowe Bergdahl: America's Last Prisoner of War*). Hastings' genius was a combination of gonzo passion with the ability to laser-i ...more
But he wrote his first draft of this novel when he was in his early twenties, and did not decide, on his own, to revise it for publication. That decision was made by his wife and his colleagues, and this reader at least feels like it is a disservice to the wr ...more
While he seems like a secondary character at first, the novel ends up being mostly about reporter A. E. Peoria and his strange fall from grace as up ...more
Cynical much? What drives news and politics in the US? If we take Hastings at face value, he believed a bunch of burned out, cynical men who didn't want to rock the boat. How can you bypass this old boys club? This new thing called a blog.
Alex (A.E.) Peoria literally is part of a story so against the "norm" that it drives him into an ...more
Michael Hastings was a gifted reporter for Newsweek and Rolling Stone, before he tragically died in an automobile accident in Los Angeles in 2013.
They discovered this manuscript on his computer, and fortunately it has been published, and unfortunately it will be his last published piece of fiction.
In my opinion, journalists who attempt to write novels are typically not very good at it. That's not the case here.
The Last Magazine is compelling, hilarious, nasty, revealing and rollicking ride throu...more
This is not a book for the faint of heart. A movie adaptation would be hard pressed to avoid an NC-17 rating. For mature audiences only, and those who ...more
Hastings' posthumous novel probably could only be published now that he is in his grave. As a lightly fictionalized account of working for an international news magazine at the dawn of the 00s, the novel says what insiders think, know and would never, ever commit to paper. The story is bifurcated between two main characters, both of who we are left to wonder are stand ins for Hastings' himself? Or as composites of the characters he worked with?
For those who long lost faith ...more
The best parts of the book to me were the insider look at the more pathetic aspects of the scheming, backstabbing world of m ...more
That said, it's still a fascinating peek inside magazine journalism on a downhill slide--full of interpersonal rivalries, politics and editors who pooh-pooh the interwebs. Parts are hysterical; others are tragic and dismal. The narrative voice is ...more
Not recommended to the ...more
I blurbed this book, so I'll start with that, then expand:
That voice. That witty, subversive voice we thought we'd lost, is back for one last romp. Hastings decodes the culture even more incisively in fiction, with wild bursts of imaginative mischief. So damn funny.
Too salesy? I hope not. So much to pack in there, and especially, I wanted to convey the giddiness I felt snickering my way through.
I could hardly believe it. I missed Mike desperately ...more
Set after 9/11 but just before the start of the war in Iraq, it has come at the best possible time. Early 2000 nostalgia, transsexual rights (I would say it's trans positive but hardly PC, meaning trans activists have plenty to complain about), popularity of high-end paper notebooks ...more
Michael Hastings is not only the author (this manuscript was found on his computer after his death in a car accident last year), but the protagonist in what surely mus ...more
That said, my book club chose this book, so I am going to criticize it anyway. I thought that one of the two principal characters, the foreign correspondent named Peoria, seemed to be far too dim for someon ...more
This book is published posthumously by his estate when they came across this manuscript among his belongings. It's billed as a fiction, but it's really more like his memoir of his times at Newsweek. The plots and writings of the life and times in the ...more
Pretty good sendup of the head-in-the-sand news magazine industry during the emergence of the online news and gossip industry. Along the way Hastings lampoons corporate cowardice, careerism, ass-covering, moral compromise, envy, sloth, greed, gluttony, etc. Heavy-duty satire, reminiscent of Catch-22.
For a draft (it was found on Mr. Hasting's PC after his death) it's fairly well along; I suspect some editing and filling in had to be done toward the end, but if so it seeme ...more
Michael Hastings was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. Over a five year span, he regularly covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He started his career at Newsweek magazine in 2002, and was named the magazine’s Baghdad correspondent in 2005. In 2008, he reported on the U.S. presidential elections for Newsweek. His work has appeared in ...more