Friday, April 29, 2011

Election Fever - Canadian Fiction

In just a few days, many Canadians will dutifully troop to their local school/church/community centre to cast their vote. According to the buzz on Facebook, many of my friends intend to vote. Some even go as far as to say whom they will be voting for or, more commonly, whom they won’t be voting for.

If you’ve been enjoying the lead-up to election day and you’re a reader of fiction, here are some novels about politics in Canada that you might like:

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis is a satirical story about a burned-out speechwriter who works for the leader of the opposition on Parliament Hill. Eager to escape the world of politics, he accepts a job elsewhere, only to find that his political past catches up with him. Terry Fallis recently read from this book at the Keshen Goodman Library, the footage of which you can watch here.

King John of Canada by Scott Gardiner is also a political satire that asks the question: What if Canada had a king? Reviewer Hugh McGuire says it best, “There are few sharp pens in the country to make us laugh and yell at the same time. We’ve got our television satirists, but our literary landscape is clear, almost completely, of politics. So Gardiner’s funny book is a welcome addition - one which, if he’s done his job right, will inspire equal measures of laughter, anger, and actual thought about how things are and how they might be.”

If political satire is not your thing, you might enjoy MacDonald: a novel by Roy MacSkimming. Classified as historical fiction, the book is a re-creation of the last days of our first prime minister. Narrated by his private secretary, Joseph Pope, the novel opens with Sir John A. fighting his last election battle on issues that sound strikingly familiar to topics that still concern Canadians. Other characters in book include President Ulysses S. Grant, Louis Riel and Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

MacSkimming went on to write another novel about historical politics in Canada called Laurier in Love. If you enjoy some romantic intrigue with your political history, you can read about Sir Laurier’s love triangle and his governing prowess all in one book.

Happy voting.

~ Marlo

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