The Last Hundred Days

The poet Patrick McGuinness’s first novel is set in Bucharest, where he lived in the 1980s. The action takes place in 1989 as Ceausescu lays waste to the city, unable to believe that his regime is nearly finished. ‘The time I spent [in Bucharest] was, as they say, formative,’ McGuinness wrote in the New Welsh Review. ‘I still don’t know what it formed me for exactly, but I’ve always known I would write about the place – its buildings and streets, its smells, its tastes, the qualities of its light, even the particular timbre of its pollution . . . I tried in my novel to give that sense of place, but also of place endangered, against which lives can be led more intensely, with the right kind of unreality and emphasis which, I hope, makes the characters and their stories interesting.’

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