I’ve been pressing two recent books upon everyone I know. Linda Svendsen’s Sussex Drive and George Bowering’s Pinboy.
Sussex Drive is a pungent, brilliant, raucous political novel about the Ottawa of 2008, the notorious moment in Canada’s political life when Harper prorogued parliament for the first time. Svendsen boldly goes where others fear to tread, giving us fictionalized portraits of the prime minister and his wife, of the Governor General at the time, and of the leader of the opposition whom she adroitly calls Monsieur Triste, a name that says it all. It’s as funny as it is knowing and over the top, a novel that Mordecai Richler would have wished he’d written, the sort of novel this country is crying out for.
George Bowering’s memoir is a testament to his phenomenally juicy powers of memory and empathy and imagination. His account of himself at fifteen gives us three levels of romantic involvement, three orbits of fascination, involving two girls from opposite sides of the tracks and one female teacher with immoderate appetites. Is there anyone who writes about sex better than George Bowering? I don’t think so.