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The Last of the Savages

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,194 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
From the writer whose earlier novels captured all the hypnotic excess of the 1980s comes a novel of splendid scope that traces the arc of an entire generation. Patrick Keane and Will Savage meet at prep school just as the 1960s are reaching life-off velocity. Patrick is Irish Catholic and already plotting his ascent into the upper class. Will is a renegade from a patrician ...more
Paperback, Vintage Contemporaries, 271 pages
Published April 29th 1997 by Vintage (first published 1996)
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Jan 29, 2013 Schmacko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The act of friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families.”

That’s how this lovely book starts, and by the end, I was thoroughly confused and amazed as to why this isn’t considered a modern classic. I was truly affected by this novel, so much so that I read the book twice straight through. I even got emotional. Both times.

This powerful novel follows Patrick Keane and his 30-year friendship with John, the last in a line of rebellious southern gentlemen surnamed Savage. The plot clearly b
Jan 16, 2012 Myles rated it really liked it
I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this one, I like most of McInerney's work, but sometimes (such as with Model Behavior) his novels leave you feeling "uh-huh, and?". So a novel about two baby boomer prep-school boys growing up and apart didn't seem like a great idea.

I forgot though that all of McInerney's novels work at the very least because of the language. Other writers in his "generation" may arguably be better storytellers or have a better grasp on the pulse of the nation and popular tre
I absolutely had no idea what to expect, I'd never read any other book written by this author and I was kind of pleasantly surprised. The story handles many topics like the strangeness of friendship, family, rebellion, looking for conformity, love, bi-racial relationships and racism. Some of those topics I could easily relate to and touched me, but there are also a lot of funny moments that made me laugh.
The story is easy to read, written in a pleasant way and set in mainly Memphis where I have
Patrick McCoy
Oct 12, 2011 Patrick McCoy rated it liked it
I haven’t read a Jay McInerney novel since college, but I recently picked up The Last of the Savages at a used bookshop. It proved to be a good diversion. It is the life story of two friends from dissimilar backgrounds that met in prep school and represent two distinct lifestyles through the turbulent 60s, 70s, and 80s. The southern bred R&B producer/star maker Will Savage, who is from a Southern family with skeletons in the closet, and Patrick Keane a scholarship boy from a lower class Bost ...more
Dorian Thornley
For some reason, I've read a lot of this guys books and no Bret Easton Ellis, go figure. I didn't like this one as much as the others, the first half felt like an essay on race relations in the south in the sixties, the characters were just convenient players used to explore the themes in the book. I did not find that I could really get behind Savage as a compelling character, I just had to take the narrator's word for it that he was charismatic and interesting. The narrator, Patrick, turned out ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Katerlio rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
the first 2/3 of this book is really good, draws you in and tells a compelling story with well-formed intriguing characters - and the last 1/2 is mediocre. the tone becomes preachy, and he loses conficence that you can draw the obvious connections yourself and takes all the fun out of it. not terrible, but disappointing.
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought McInerney may take a politically correct stance here.
Why would I think that? I don't know. It's just that so many authors are prepared to sacrifice the real story for something more socially acceptable.
He doesn't and the book is brilliant.
3.5 stars Nice read by the author of Bright Lights, Big City. The novel starts as a northerner becomes the roommate of a boy from Mississippi at a prep school. The southerner really captured my interest. He is Will Savage: a rebel. The story takes place in the latter part of the 20th century, with Will showing how he loves the blues and later on becomes a producer in the rock-n-roll industry. It might have been trite but I got hooked by his obsession with music and the black singers hidden away ...more
Tony Mac
Dec 01, 2013 Tony Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine novel by an author I'm belatedly beginning to appreciate. Though less than 300 pages long it's densely written with a number of underlying themes. The main narrative is a lifelong relationship between two roommates, the polar opposite of each other yet each determined to maintain the friendship, however fractious and fragmented. Though covering 30 years the book majors on the formative 5-6 years as both men struggle to find their way in the world: one a fearless southern visionary and ins ...more
Sometimes I'm surprised by what I find in my own little library. I've tried to make a list of everything I own, (goodreads has helped with that endeavor) but I have so far failed at being complete. The Last of the Savages is one of those curious books, I found it the other week. I don't remember buying it, nor why, but the sticker on the back revealed that I had bought it used at a Long's Drug store. Not my typical place to purchase books, so another surprise. Perhaps I picked it up because it w ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: male-friendship
Patrick Keane and Will Savage come together by pure chance as they find themselves roommates at a New England boarding school in 1967. Different in many respects, Patrick from a somewhat ordinary background, a local scholarship boy; Will from a wealthy, privileged and notable Southern States family, yet with an affinity with black soul music and blacks.

The story, related by Patrick, spans thirty years of their unusual friendship. They have no doubt they are best friends, and keep in touch throug
Hey Sailor!
Jan 10, 2008 Hey Sailor! rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 10, 2011 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel tells the story of two friends who meet as roommates in the 1960's at a New England prep school, one (Will Savage) is from a privledged Memphis family, the other (Patrick Keane) a scholarship kid from Massachusetts. The novel charts their friendship over three decades, as Patrick pursues academia and law school but Will chooses to become a music mogul, charting the records of R+B artists of the south. It's an unlikely friendship that battles Will's temperment and drug-escapes and Patr ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Nomi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book at a used bookshop and was intrigued by the premise: the 30-year friendship of two very different men who meet as boys at a prep school. I started optimistically and was rewarded with several interesting turns of phrase in the first part of the book. There was also some nostalgia involved as the protagonist receives his undergraduate degree in the late 1960s. However, as the book wore on, I wore out. It seemed like an endless loop tape on several levels: the characters move ...more
Mark M
Aug 05, 2012 Mark M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. You get quite a bit of familiar McInerney territory (think New England elites, yes their lives are screwed up just like everyone else) but you also get a view into the South that is well-observed and fascinating. McInerney lives in Franklin, TN now, or did when the book came out, and you can see he hasn't wasted his time there.

I found several eerie parallels between the characters here and my own experiences in high school and college, so I enjoyed it with an intensi
Jun 16, 2012 Elalma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I nostri desideri sono insaziabili e infiniti. solo dominandoli ci guadagniamo il diritto alla felicit. O, se non proprio alla felicit, almeno alla pace, perch in fondo la ricerca della felicit mi sembra un credo troppo crudele e vano, un inganno atroce perpetrato contro l'inesperienza della socit civile Ci si sceglie dunque una vita "cos-cos", un amore cos-cos, un lavoro cos-cos e si uccidono i sogni, la rivoluzione, l'utopia, l'amore. Bravo disincantato narratore che si tiene la parte dell'ant ...more
Brian Mcelmurry
Oct 01, 2013 Brian Mcelmurry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book covers 20-30 years of the life of 2 friends who meet in college, the narrator an in-the-closet homosexual and his wild music producer friend. This book tackles drugs use, racism, rock and roll, the south, the north, white collar/blue collar. It's been a while since I read it, but it has deepness to it, and very 60's to 80's/90's almost TV mini-series quality(of those in the 80's of the projectory of the idealist youth of the 60's to the drugged out/burnt out and bitter person of the 80 ...more
Tiny Pants
Aug 16, 2008 Tiny Pants rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have a major thing for 80s literary brat pack fiction, but Jay McInerney sank to new lows with this one. I have a thing about finishing books I start -- they have to suck on a The Devil Wears Prada level for me to actually put them down (I made it through less than a chapter of that book before throwing it across the room, then donating it to a charity since I could never bring myself to actually throw a book away). But man, this one is close. The knowledge that I spent $5 on it is really what ...more
Amy Drayton
Apr 05, 2012 Amy Drayton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I picked this up in the secondhand part of my favourite bookshop whilst killing time before catching my train..i loved this cover and whether i should admit this or not, i do tend to be drawn towards books with cool covers. Anyhow i really fell in love with this book, such a beautiful story set in the hot dusty American South...possibly one of THE best setting for any literature..especially if you can capture it well and McInerney sure does succeed. Might use it for an a-level text..hmmm
I'm not sure characters can get any more cliche than the characters in The Last of the Savages. How many times have we heard this story? Poor but smart kid goes to prep school and then ivy league college and tries to forget his humble upbringing and fit in. Rich but nonconformist kid befriends him while rejecting his own upbringing. The two grow apart and yet remain friends. Oh, and it is set against the turbulent back drop of the 1960s/1970s.
I enjoyed the novel; loved the historical context and was quite fascinated - like everyone else in the novel, it seems - by Will. Patrick was endearing, though he irritated me quite a bit at times too... except for the ending, where I loved the man he'd become. I felt a bit sad for him, but he seemed to have come to peace with his life, so I also felt I had no right to be.

Anyway, I enjoyed the novel and will probably seek other books by this author.
Apr 11, 2016 Bookhuw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Overall, an engrossing read, which is a bit more traditional than other McInerney novels I've read. A saga which spans three decades, this book examines identity - how it can be manufactured, discovered and denied - and aside from some of Will's more pretentious extravagances, which can feel both overblown and hackneyed, the four (or so) main protagonists come to life.
Aug 16, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeff by: Christa Anderson
I dug it...I needed a good buddy book (currently teaching Huck Finn and about to start On the Road with my juniors and seniors) and this certainly fit the bill. Plus, after a pretty steady diet of Ian McEwan for the past few months, it was nice to read something so American.
Jan 19, 2016 Megan rated it really liked it
I like how Jay McInerney tells a story. This one had a lot more history than Bright Lights, but the characters were just as interesting. I liked seeing the Civil Rights Movement and the economic distortions through the two main characters lives. Occasionally I felt like a little too much was piled in, however.
Feb 05, 2008 Biskit rated it it was ok
Typical of the prep-school/ivy league fantasy teenage life I never came close to having (or wanting, I guess). Normally I'm a total sucker for this stuff, but this one was too broad-reaching w/ the whole 60's thing. Started to feel like a really long "Wonder Years" episode.
Jul 02, 2007 Linsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Obviously I read the book because of the title.)

Still, it was an amusing summer read: The author writes wine reviews for Town & Country, which goes a long way toward explaining the cultivated diction, despite topics like rock & roll, drugs, Southern life, and a blue-collar upbringing.
Apr 21, 2013 Isaac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a little gem that I randomly found in a library. I chose it because I loved the title, I continued reading because it was like nothing I ever read before. Its a tale of a guy's best friend through his perspective.
Louise Neilson
Feb 04, 2015 Louise Neilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book - will be hard pressed to find a better book for 2015! Loved the complexities, the relationships, the self exploration and ideals of conformity and freedom . . . Very thought provoking on lots of levels.
Jan 11, 2014 Anthony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly disappointed with this one. It's no Bright Lights, Big City. Had a tough time connecting with the main characters.. I felt they were cliches. Most of the story has been done before. Not awful by any means, but I would never recommend this novel.
Jul 26, 2007 Ryan rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: absolutely no one.
A book for Bro's. It's one of those cheesy masturbatory brotherly/love college roommate type books. I didn't get far into it. Considering how good some of his others are I was quite shocked.

A real stinker.
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John Barrett McInerney Jr. is an American writer. His novels include Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, and The Last of the Savages. He edited The Penguin Book of New American Voices, wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City, and co-wrote the screenplay for the television film Gia, which starred Angelina Jolie. He is the wine co ...more
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“The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families.” 3300 likes
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