Wednesday, 12 February 2014

I think part of the problem he has with characters is that to tell stories about such huge subjects they have to represent large amounts of people - he isn't really Belisle, Premier of Quebec, he's Quebec itself.  Sands isn't the British PM, he's England.  It's easier to work when you're dealing is such high concept plotting: "The US gives Canada an Ultimatum, but Canada isn't going to sit back and take it!  And if the US invades - watch out, they're underestimating Canada".  Everything is in such broad strokes that the character traits that he does come up with are rather perfunctory at best (Roussel is flawed - he likes to drink; Sands refuses to go to a hospital after being rescued because he possesses the requisite British stiff upper lip; Jessica Swift is elegant, slinky and superlative.  Wait, those aren't actually character traits. But I really wanted to include one reference to the Secretary of State in this post). 

Brian - I like your idea that Sands isn't clearly Labour or Conservative.  Given when the book was written, either Harold Wilson or Edward Heath would have been in power - one of each.  Likely he's a composite - he's only supposed to be England anyway.

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