If there's nothing new under the sun, can anyone be original without lying? Would truth still be stranger than fiction if people were honest in real life? This fast-paced simulacrum of a commercial novel is not out to please the critics. I finished it in a day.
Lipstein asks the timely question: does one possess sole title to one's own story? A sharply written, headlong romp.
Authenticity and possession of stories are the surface themes of Last Resort, but it is really about ambition and emptiness, about a callow young man with nothing to say self-destructively looking for shortcuts in literature and life. But the great irony is that Andrew Lipstein's impeccably written debut has quite a lot to say, and, as with the best comic novels, his semi-hero's misadventures have an undertow of real sadness.
If Less by Andrew Sean Greer left a hole in your life, good news: Last Resort will fill it. Fast and funny, it feels like a backstage pass to the book world.
A darkly comical thriller about writers and publishers, emulation and betrayal, written in an excitingly careful, clear, and original prose style.
A brilliant take on what it means to be an artist in a world of endless compromises. Look out, Faust, there's a new sheriff in town.
A delightfully nightmarish satirical chronicle of one young author's reckoning with the consequences of his own blind ambition. Caleb's journey had me cringing with pure pleasure.
Last Resort is witty, profound and blisteringly intelligent. Andrew Lipstein asks major questions about ambition and authenticity and artistic ethics, while keeping me frantically turning the pages to see what happens next. A fantastic, fast-paced and deeply funny novel.
With its seductive, chilled intelligence and frictionless style, Last Resort plunged me summarily into a one-sitting read. I came up for air awed by this sophisticated, high-stakes moral drama.
Last Resort raises incisive questions about authorship, the tension between art and commerce, and the elusive nature of self-fulfillment, all while unspooling a compelling story with humor and great suspense. I didn't want it to end.
Last Resort is a strange and beguiling book about the contrivances, connivances and mysteries of creation, with an especially visceral depiction of male anxiety and an absolutely blistering end. A terrific debut.
Last Resort is a witty, propulsive and often mesmerizing novel, a kind of creative-class thriller, full of wry social observation and subtle emotional textures, and it builds beautifully toward a bracing showdown between knowingness and self-knowledge. With its insular milieu and quality lit namechecks, not to mention its quasi-satirical anxiety of auto-fictional influence, Andrew Lipstein plays a risky game, and he plays it superbly, with feeling.
A darkly comical thriller about editors and agents, friends and acquaintances, lovers and strangers, written in an excitingly careful, attentive, and original prose style.
A propulsive tale of American literary ambition, this novel exposes the status-hunger that motivates plenty of writing-far more than writers like to admit. A keenly observed and sharp-witted debut that's assured from first page to last."
I loved Last Resort. It takes so many surprising and brilliant turns: it is fun and witty, and rollicks through the pains and joys of writing and having your name on a book jacket (or not). And Caleb Horowitz is exactly the kind of character I love to hate: self-justifying but reflective, self-centred but loving.
Last Resort is one of those novels about writing guaranteed to make every novelist who reads it blush with its unsparing portrayal of greed, obsession and smug superiority. Wickedly funny: I loved it.
Sometimes, a character falls in step with you, invades your thoughts, disrupts your dreams and challenges your choices. You don't so much read Caleb Horowitz's story as be beguiled, bothered and bruised by it. This brilliant book is elegant, messy, sharp, blunt, sad and funny all at once. So good!
Sharp, witty, and gleeful. A wry, brutal dissection of male authorship and ambition at a time of #metoo. Think Salter, but without his cold gaze, and written with such verve and gusto it will leave you holding your breath. Just when you think it can't get worse, it does. And some. Not a romp, more a riot, as Lipstein lays bare the petty jealousy of his protagonist, Caleb Horowitz, and his relentless pursuit of the right to be "known" and to own what is "his". What Caleb creates, he destroys; all that is good, is trampled, in a message that seems to speak beyond the book to question what it is to be male today. Honestly, I can't wait to read what Lipstein writes next.
So horribly delicious that the reader (especially the reader who is also a writer) won't even dream of looking away.
If you've ever wondered where writers get their ideas from, Last Resort is wicked fun. If you're a writer, Last Resort is heartburn in print. Splayed across these pages is the dark terror that lurks within any creative person's breast: the embarrassing facts that might demolish the glorious claims made in the name of literary invention... A deliciously absurd comedy about literary fame.
Last Resort, Andrew Lipstein's almost perfectly plotted debut novel on a topic - creative envy and artistic theft - that tastes like catnip to many readers of literary fiction . . . has one of the best endings in recent memory... You'll think about Last Resort for weeks after you read the last pages.
Cowardly, avaricious, annoying, territorial, deceitful, opportunistic: there aren't enough shady adjectives in the dictionary to describe the narrator of Andrew Lipstein's Last Resort. What fun! Last Resort is about a novelist who has stolen the plot of his best-selling book from a story relayed to him by an acquaintance. Now, if you read last year's The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz, you'll notice that this novel has a similar, uh, plot as that one... They are both thrillers about, of all things, intellectual property. Korelitz's book was tighter and darker. Lipstein's is funnier. Both are incredibly entertaining... If Lipstein had written a less cunning book, he might have contrasted Caleb with a character who represented artistic purity, whatever that is. But everyone here sits somewhere on the grifter spectrum, including the real people (Avi, doomed woman, repressed married couple) upon whom Caleb's characters are based... In addition to a blithe streak, Caleb has a cruel streak, a petty streak and an intemperate streak, and Lipstein milks the comedy of these traits almost as well as Kingsley Amis did in Lucky Jim.
A blissfully wicked work of art... A lightning-streak of a novel.
Last Resort is a rare accomplishment, a novel of ideas - about art, authorship, money, ethics - with the momentum of a great thriller.
This is a moral drama about ambition and authorship that's as funny and fast-paced as it is sharp and cutting.
Lipstein gleefully scrutinizes the nature of success in an industry that runs as much on vanity as on financial gain... The book's command of contemporary-hipster details is wincingly precise.
A novel of post-collegiate literary ambition, slippery storytelling, and a perfectly Pninian ending.
You won't read a more brilliantly executed literary romp this year... An unsparing satire of a generation of millennials who fear that their lives lack gravitas and emotional depth
Talent is rare, which is why I let out a big yippee reading Andrew Lipstein's Last Resort, one of a trio of excellent new first novels by men... Lipstein doesn't just blast chunks out of the inflated artifice of New York's literary scene, he turns his fire on the city at large too, or at least its hipster quarters, all "friendly, progressive, organic, recyclable"... There is something in Lipstein's novel that is specific to new male novelists - their conscious sensitivity about writing sex. Lipstein takes this head on. In Last Resort the novel-within-the-novel is slated online for its "male gaze". This is culturally astute (it's an accusation any man runs the risk of when he puts pen to paper, especially post #MeToo) and a smart way for Lipstein to say: I get it.
A funny, fast-paced literary satire.
A brilliant morality tale about what happens when a person refuses to learn from their mistakes, all the way down to the final scene, which had me laughing out loud and punching the air.