Author: Michael Hastings
Published: 2014 by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Group
Read: July 2014
Why it made it to the top of the pile: Hastings' 2008 memoir I Lost My Love in Baghdad is one of my favourites
Trivia Tidbit: Hastings received the George Polk Award for "The Runaway General" (2010), a Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal. The article documented the widespread contempt for civilian government officials by the general and his staff and ultimately resulted in McChrystal's resignation.
Full Disclosure: ARC courtesy the publisher and Netgalley
I found the part of the story that dealt with publishing industry politics both funny and fascinating. Hastings' eye is keen, and he hones in on some of the more ridiculous affectations of those seeking recognition as industry leaders. The story is also told in part from the perspective of AE Peoria, an international correspondent covering trouble spots in Africa and the Middle East. Author-Michael spent some time working as a war correspondent, and his experiences are used for insightful observation of how Peoria handles himself in life-threatening situations. However, the part of the novel where Peoria - likely suffering PTSD - goes on an extended sexual adventure during a stopover in Thailand on his way home seem intended to shock and, in my opinion, detracted rather than added to the story.
I wanted to love this book, but I sometimes found it difficult even to like it in parts. Michael Hastings can write beautifully, which made it all the more disappointing when this story got gimmicky. I wonder if the story might have tightened up had the real Michael Hastings been around to oversee the final edit.