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Like it 1977 predecessor The Wars, Timothy Findley's 1981 Famous Last Words ruthlessly examines the (often violent) nature of social division and union, as well as the making of history. Together these two novels mark the peak of Findley's career. While the slim Wars focuses largely on a single Canadian soldier in the First World War, Famous Last Words observes the next war--sometimes in the wings, sometimes from a distant office--through expatriate American writer Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. The title character in a well-known poem by the infamous Ezra Pound ("born / In a half savage country-- / Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn"), Mauberley gives Findley a focus point for his forceful moral questions. Can bad people produce good art? (Good anything?) Are actions really excused by explanations?
Findley's career as a professional actor is nowhere more present than in this fascinating novel of revelatory props, coded dialogue, and emblematic settings. Mauberley's participation in an international cabal of intelligentsia and power brokers also lends Famous Last Words the suspense of an espionage novel. This fictional group, devoted to creating a new, post-national Europe, anticipates the migrant fixations of so many of Findley's fellow Canadian novelists. Like the characters of Mordecai Richler, Rohinton Mistry, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and Mavis Gallant, Findley's Mauberley is, in Michael Ondaatje's phrase, another "international bastard--born in one place and choosing to live elsewhere. Fighting to get back to or get away from our homelands all our lives." --Darryl Whetter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"...has the reader on the edge of his seat with suspense and wonder." -- The Globe and Mail
"Famous Last Words is a brilliant novel, a great one." -- The Edmonton Journal
"Famous Last Words is part thriller, part horror story; it's also a meditation on history and the human soul and it is Findley's fine achievement that he had combined these elements into a web that constantly surprises and astounds the reader." -- The Toronto Star --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fantastic book. Tremendous plot and characters. Ingenious writing. A story about the incredible need we have to tell our stories. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Annabel Buckely
Reading this makes you realize what we lost when Tiff Findlay died. This must be my fourth or fifth copy that I've ordered since I tend to give them away--often to Americans who... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Canadian schoolmarm