The Last Judgment

Robert Steiner

 

ISBN 978-1-959556-67-1        284 pages        $22.00

 

The Last Judgment is a dark vision, an apocalyptic fever dream, a panorama of chiaroscuro lit by the torched South at the end of the Civil War. In this, his final novel, Steiner recounts the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination and the defeat of the South in a style that is Proustian in detail, Jamesian in stateliness, and Faulknerian in its rhythms. It is a remarkable achievement.

     Vincent Czyz

Robert Steiner has given us an extraordinary work: a microscopic and kaleidoscopic vision of Lincoln’s assassination, assimilating the dead president to the Biblical Abraham, and the war that surrounded him to the End of Days. This novel combines a marvelous ingenuity of concept with a vatic, thundering style that does the Old Testament prophets proud.

     Madison Smartt Bell

Fierce, blood-stained and breathtaking, The Last Judgement is a lamentation on America’s original sin of slavery and its attempted expiation in the civil war. Focusing on the dying and unconscious Lincoln, the novel weaves its terrible and stylish magic around questions of guilt, atonement, shame and retribution. No comforting Zen bardo here, this is old testament history, where vengeance is the Lord’s and redemption uncertain. This is a darkly brilliant book.

   Jeffrey DeShell

 

On Robert Steiner

 

Out of personal bravery, Steiner manages to deal directly long and hard with darkness. Sometimes reading him, one shakes oneself.

     Grace Paley

 

There is no writer of his generation of whom I think more greatly.

     John Hawkes

 

Through its articulate and painfully nuanced first-person narration, Steiner's examination of jealousy and betrayal at its simplest becomes something sublime.

     Publishers Weekly, for Negative Space

 

Like Roth's The Counterlife, this novel challenges by taking repeated advantage of the reader's willingness to suspend disbelief.

     Publishers Weekly, for Dread

 

Steiner’s primary theme seems to be that pain is as profound a symbol of life as joy or happiness or desire (indeed, perverse aura of desire wafts throughout this difficult collection).

     Publishers Weekly, for Nothing Lasts Forever

 

Steiner knows what he's doing, and he's in firm command of his style.

     Kirkus Reviews, for Nothing Lasts Forever

 

Robert Steiner . . . has written astonishing work . . . in a style dark and gorgeous. (He) is a master of the sensual.

     Los Angeles Times

 

Robert Steiner (1948-2023) was a modern master. His work ranks alongside J G Ballard, Vladimir Nabokov, and James Salter. One cannot overstate his importance as an American stylist in the 21st century.