Last Resort by Andrew Lipstein review – a hipster literary romp

A stolen idea has consequences for an aspiring author in this self-conscious satirical caper about the indignities of ambition

Last Resort, the debut novel by Avi Deitsch, is a work of near genius. The story of a man’s holiday romance with a woman who turns out to have weeks to live, it inspired a bidding war among New York publishers, was sold for almost seven figures, and is poised to become the next highbrow American bestseller.

Meanwhile Last Resort, the debut novel by Andrew Lipstein, is a more modest book. Funny, stylish and accomplished, it is a satirical caper about the tangled roots of creative inspiration and the indignities of authorial ambition. There is a time-honoured – some would say moth-eaten – tradition of novelists writing novels about novelists, from Roth and Updike to Rooney, Ferrante and Jean Hanff Korelitz. Are such books interrogations of the moral and material conditions of authorship, or exercises in literary navel gazing? And who on earth wants to read another one?

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