Friday, 14 December 2007

The Violets of Usambara and Brian Mulroney

It’s done, except for reading the page proofs! Yesterday afternoon Marc Côté, head of Cormorant Books , called with the last questions about editing The Violets of Usambara. There weren’t many: associate editor Blake Sproule and I had thrashed out almost everything the week before. What remained were things like the spelling of “tuque” or “toque” and whether “would not, could not” sounded too much like a rhyme from Dr. Suess. So the book will be out early-ish next spring, after nearly 10 years of work.

A most apropos coincidence: I was listening to the 4:30 news on CBC radio when the phone rang. The top story was Brian Mulroney’s testimony before the Ethics Committee of the House of Commons on his dealings with Karlheinz Shreiber, and the $300,000 (or maybe $275,000) that the former Prime Minister received in cash from the German-Canadian businessman. Thomas Brossard, the Canadian politician who goes missing in Burundi in my novel, was one of Mulroney’s stalwarts, and whether or not he was involved in some shady deals is a major element in the story.

Thomas Brossard is pure invention, of course.

Does life follow art, or art follow life?

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