Review: King John of Canada
King John of Canada by Scott Gardiner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"King John of Canada" by Scott Gardiner is a 1-2* tragedy: heroic buildup (3* I like), wasteful end (0* I hate). The narrator, self-imposed suffering in dangerous icy isolation, lends gravitas to a cockamamee crash of federal Canada political rut, then suicidal guilt. Et tu, Blue? Suspense weighs down into painful doom. Our hero rises slowly, in glimpses. I do not like the second-last chapter, his unnecessary end in a twisted Camelot knock-down by jealous deliberation, amid blurry Red Yank rambles. I liked the beginning, cleverness saves Canada, not the end, bad wins. The author's philosophy is: "sex and conflict" p204 are news; "politicians create problems" p205; "bad news sells" p206.
A crown lottery-winner meets the Toronto mayor declaring secession. The couple have brilliance, brains, courage, charisma, daring, passion, compassion, luck. They spark off each other to scorch away the sluff of centuries. Real present issues are solved ("mirror diplomacy" (give us what you get) for Quebec partisans p147, geese droppings p163, conservative conservationists p169, control of guns that kill men, not animals p180, "applauding our troops" p287).
"All history is accident" p38 is disproved by the smallest gesture (twitch, opened button, daily vitamin) that direct the plot. Famous politician quotes p70, I disagree, associate Trudeau with "fuddle duddle".
Like comedy "The High Road" by Terry Fallis, this governs Canada starting with a naked woman in a boathouse upstairs bedroom, but takes a winding low dark descent. It dares: Now you know where I was going, read me again. I prefer heaven to hell, yet wish we could have authors' solutions.
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