When Daniel leaves his job as speech writer to the Liberal Party, he agrees to perform one last job for them – find a candidate for the upcoming election in his home riding. The riding has been held by the Conservative party for decades, and getting someone to agree to be the perpetually losing Liberal candidate is almost impossible. With his time almost up, Daniel strikes a deal with his irascible landlord. Angus will stand for the election if Daniel will teach the dreaded “English for Engineers” class and agree that there will be no campaign signs, public appearances or participation by Angus in the election itself. The writ is dropped, and Daniel finds himself running a campaign on a shoestring budget with an absentee candidate and unexpected results.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
We were delighted with this novel, which won the Stephen Leacock Award for humour the year it was published. A humorous book about Canadian politics – how refreshing! And it was laugh-out-loud funny – right from the opening scene about infidelity in the House of Commons (lobbying his caucus, etc.). We loved the Canadian phrases and references to parliamentary procedure and life in Ottawa. The writing was marvelous, with gems on every page (e.g.: the retirement home decorated in “early Canadian ugly” with upholstery in “shades of internal organs”). The characters were relatable and the dialogue flowed so naturally that we could hear Angus in our heads and enjoy the way his words punctured inflated political egos. The only false notes might be the farting and the dog turd pratfall, but we can forgive those because Angus’ diary entries to his deceased wife were so touching.