Canadian political satire lives! yay! It is an endangered species in Canadian literature. Linda Svendsen provides welcome company to Terry Fallis(The Best Laid Plans: A Novel and The High Road), but this is more biting, and strongly rooted in real events.
The book is set during the presidential reign of Canada's non-president prime minister who nonetheless aspires to a different kind of regime. Stephen and Laureen Harper have become Greg and Becky Leggatt, and our former young black governor general, Michaelle Jean, immigrant from Haiti, has been transformed into young black Lise Lavoie, immigrant from St Bernand. And the Queen has abdicated to allow her son to become King Charles. The personalities though, are deliciously the same as our real-life politicos. The angry cold-eyed ruthless PM in the book keeps yielding to my image of Harper. And what a mean bastard he is in this book (no spoiler alert there, that's a given!). It is only the PM's wife in the book that seems to be fictional -her cunning and wicked political nous
surpass even that of her fish-eyed hubby's.
Real Canadian and world-wide political events provide the framework and most of the plot lines in the book, from the transformation from a minority to majority government in Canada, and the cynical reliance upon prorogation of parliament by the PM and his cronies. The story though, is told from the sides of the women, the wife and the GG.
Svendsen has taken these real events and stuffed the empty spaces, the spaces where we don't know what the reality is, with her wildly inventive but scarily almost plausible plot twists. These narrative twists might be entirely imagined but sadly, the Machiavellian stylings are too real.
Despite re-opening our scabby political wounds, this book is a fun read. Her writing is tight, sharp, focused, and hilarious. We need more of this kind of book.