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.