Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mighty Mayors

I admit that the idea for this post came from The Coast articles of January 5, 2012. The main theme of that week's The Coast was what would make a good mayor, including a piece on fictional mayors. I was reminded of a few books that I have read in which the mayor was the main character.

The Leftovers (M) by Tom Perrotta. There has been a lot of press lately about the end of days, the Mayan Calendar, and the Doomsday clock. What would happen if the Rapture came and you were left behind? This is the interesting premise to the latest novel by the author of Little Children. Perrotta has always been a thought-provoking novelist. In this novel he has the reader wondering what they would do if millions of people suddenly disappeared in a split second, and those who were taken were not selected based on religion, race or gender. How would this affect the “Leftovers”? Kevin Garvey, the mayor of Middleton, has to deal with his wife and son leaving him to join two different cults, as well as taking care of his troubled teenaged daughter. I found it very interesting to wonder what I would do if I was one of the “Leftovers”.

The Devil's Punchbowl (M) by New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles presents Penn Cage as mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. Most of Natchez's revenue comes from casino gambling boats that dock just off its shores. One boat in particular comes to Penn's attention, the Magnolia Queen. On board, high staked players come to satisfy their taste for bloodsports and other vices. With the money that the casino makes, it is easy to buy off people who make trouble, and if they cannot be bought, they are killed! It is up to Mayor Penn to battle against the evil that threatens to take over his town.

The Good Mayor (M) is the debut novel by author Andrew Nicoll. The story is told by Walpurnia, the 1200 year old bearded nun who is the patron saint of Dot. She watches over this Baltic city and especially Tibo Krovic. Tibo is known as the Good Mayor, as he always says and does the right thing. Tibo has been secretly in love with his lonely, married secretary, Agatha Stopak. He worships her from afar, or at least by peeking under the crack of his office door. Walpurnia steps into this relationship, and as we all know, the path to true love never runs smooth.

Dog Bites Man, City Shocked! (M) by James Duffy. I admit that just the title of this book attracted my attention. After all, I am sure that dogs bite people every day but to get such a tabloid heading is not usual. And that is because this satire reads like tabloid fodder. Highly regarded Columbian political science professor Eldon Hoagland is talked into running for mayor by his powerful friends. The first 30 pages of the novel focus on his rise to power. The rest of the novel tells of his downfall: the reason being something ridiculous. After a year and half in power, the mayor is brought down and not because of sexual or financial scandal. No, he is brought down because after a night of drinking, he steps on a dog as he leaves his friend's house. The dog then bites the mayor and the Mayor's bodyguard shoots the dog. What follows is a comedy of errors, sure to amuse the political junkie in all of us!

I have always said that I would rather be rich and not famous. I would never want to be in the public eye, especially after reading these novels. So good luck to all those mayors out there. You will need it!

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