Verbatim: A Novel
, lacks the structure, plot, character development and slow-building tension that typically define the genre. It is a series of chronological fake Hansard transcripts perfectly replicating the real thing in style and content, interspersed with occasional bureaucratic memos. What makes it more readable than actual parliamentary transcripts is the biting satire, its awareness of its own absurdity. Elected officials in a fictional Maritime province engage in high-culture trash talk and meaningless points of order as ruthless policies are passed with little recourse. Lip service is paid to the poor for the sake of political points in the next election, but until marginalized parties enter the fray it’s difficult to discern left from right. It’s a beautiful parody and an educational expose, though plot and character development would have reduced the slog factor in 294 pages of transcript. Still, Verbatim’s well worth the effort for political junkies and open-minded readers.