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Beschreibung des Verlags
A New York Times Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Adding to a fiction chronicle that has already spanned American history from the Lincoln assassination to the Watergate scandal, Thomas Mallon now brings to life the tumultuous administration of the most consequential and enigmatic president in modern times.
Finale captures the crusading ideologies, blunders, and glamour of the still-hotly-debated Reagan years, taking readers to the political gridiron of Washington, the wealthiest enclaves of Southern California, and the volcanic landscape of Iceland, where the president engages in two almost apocalyptic days of negotiation with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Along with Soviet dissidents, illegal-arms traders, and antinuclear activists, the novel’s memorable characters include Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Pamela Harriman, John W. Hinckley, Jr. (Reagan’s would-be assassin), and even Bette Davis, with whom the president had long ago appeared onscreen. Several figures—including a humbled, crafty Richard Nixon; the young, brilliantly acerbic Christopher Hitchens; and an anxious, astrology-dependent Nancy Reagan (on the verge of a terrible realization)—become the eyes through which readers see the last convulsions of the Cold War, the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and a political revolution.
At the center of it all—but forever out of reach—is Ronald Reagan himself, whose genial remoteness confounds his subordinates, his children, and the citizens who elected him.
Finale is the book that Thomas Mallon’s work has been building toward for years. It is the most entertaining and panoramic novel about American politics since Advise and Consent, more than a half century ago.
In this novel, Mallon (Watergate) fixes his wide-angle historical lens on the presidency of Ronald Reagan, in particular the events leading up to the expos of the Iran-Contra affair in 1986. As befitting the author's usual literary mode, Reagan himself is a minor character in his own story. The major characters include such real-life personalities as rising English journalist Christopher Hitchens, the much-married English socialite Pamela Harriman, and would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr. Worked in among these are several fictional characters, including Anders Little, an arms-control expert with a sexual secret; his friend, Anne Macmurray, an anti-nukes advocate; and her dying ex-husband, Peter Cox, a Texas contributor to Republican candidates. And of course, hovering in the background is "tan, rested and ready" Richard Milhouse Nixon in all his tragic Shakespearean glory, ever trying to restore his blackened legacy. Although largely plotless, the novel boasts a telephone book sized cast of characters and fits them inside a chronicle large enough to encompass the Reagan-era gay revisionism of Tony Kushner's Angels in America and the gossip of Truman Capote's "La Cote Basque, 1965." What Mallon does best is dramatize the bizarre '80s intersection of Hollywood and Washington, D.C., as equal weight is given to Merv Griffin and Eva Gabor as to Pat Buchanan and Jeane Kirkpatrick, creating in the process a crazy, quilted depiction of a contradiction-filled presidential administration.