Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Leaven of Malice

I hit the serendipitous jackpot with this book. Foreign author (Canadian), older work I hadn't heard of (1954) and a downright entertaining good book.

The book won the Leacock award for best work of humorous Canadian literature. It's a wonderful satire on small towns and the newspaper business.

The book begins with an engagement notice being printed for a couple whose wedding is to take place on November 31st. The father of the bride-to-be has had his own private feud against the deceased father of the husband-to-be because the deceased was selected over him to be dean at the local institution of higher education. Because of the feud, he views the notice as a slight (as the two have hardly met, yet alone want to be married to one another) and sets out to sue the paper for libel.

Davies continues to add more and more characters to the novel to the point where it sometimes becomes difficult to remember who is who or why they are even needed. That to me is the only downside of the book. It is really funny as the engaged couple find themselves running into one another, the editor of the paper tries to keep everything running smoothly in the face of a lawsuit, two lawyers in the same firm get involved in the case, the head of the church where the wedding takes place gets involved as does the organist....Good googly moogly there are a lot of characters. And I may have not mentioned a crucial one or seven.

This is the second book of the so-called Salterton Trilogy by Davies (the town where the story takes place is called Salterton). Davies did not write the books to be a trilogy and all three books are supposed to be fine on their own. I can definitely speak for this one.

For being over fifty years old, the humor holds up well. The importance of the local newspaper within the town seems a little quaint but not unbelievable given the fact it is a small town. A very entertaining book and I am sure I will return to Davies in the future.

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