The Last Magazine

Michael Hastings. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-16994-6
Hastings, the late journalist whose 2010 Rolling Stone profile derailed the military career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, writes about what he knew best—the world of news magazine publishing—in this posthumously published first novel. In 2002, a fictional Michael Hastings is interning at the weekly Magazine (read Newsweek, where the real Hastings once worked), where he bonds with burnt-out foreign correspondent A.E. Peoria. He also becomes involved with an upstart media website, Wretched.com, which calls print journalists “dead tree-ers.” But Hastings is such a passive character that readers may be drawn more to Peoria, who is forced to go on hiatus after an article he writes causes a riot in Iraq. Teaching journalism, he becomes involved with one of his students, a transsexual named Justina with an incredible backstory. Taking place roughly from the second Iraq War to Hurricane Katrina, this novel tries to recreate the last time that print magazines actually mattered. But without a strong protagonist, the novel suffers, especially in comparison to Tom Rachman’s far superior The Imperfectionists. Still, there is enough here to suggest that had Hastings not died in an auto crash in 2013, he would have mastered the novel form as well as he did journalism. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 06/17/2014
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-4830-1504-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-1505-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-1503-3
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-751618-3
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