Where another thriller writer would’ve made Exodus/UK and Separation one novel, Rohmer divides. His method of book control is to build up the tension, then tease with the promise of a climax in the sequel.
And that second book always seems more attractive, doesn’t it? Which would you choose: a novel about Arctic trench pipe systems ending with the announcement of an American invasion or the one that features the actual invasion? So too with Exodus/UK. Which will the Canadian reader prefer: a novel that imagines the British economy in crisis, or one about the separation of Quebec? Fabula interruptus.
Rohmer’s greatest weakness in Exodus/UK comes in dealing with things political. Is Sands Conservative or Labour? Surely, he’s not the latter, not with the union bashing and all those aristocrats in his Cabinet. But if he’s a Conservative, what is socialist Carter-Smith doing in same?
Sands’ dig, comparing “know-it-all radical” Carter-Smith to “a recent Canadian Prime Minister”, serves to distance Joseph Roussel from his model. With his horn-rimmed glasses and “long, sharp-featured face topped by a thick head of jet black hair”, Gaston Belisle is clearly Robert Bourassa – but without the political acumen.
Note: Belisle does not feature in the list of characters found at the beginning of the book.
Belisle’s argument about a decline in the number of Quebec seats in Parliament is based on the flawed notion that the number of MPs was fixed at 265. The argument he should’ve made is that the percentage of Quebec seats would decline.
And you’re right, Chris, the National Assembly would never vote unanimously to leave Canada.
“I know that we can expect one hell of a row in Canada when we ask them for an open-gate immigration policy”, predicts the UK Foreign Secretary. Yep, such a row that the future of the country is threatened. Don't expect sympathy from Sands, though. There'll be no talk behind the scenes that he withdraw the request. There will be no proposal of anything other than ‘open-gate’. And no one will question the accuracy of that two million figure, which Sands more or less pulled out of his ass.
On a more positive note, look what I've just received from Karl and Linda: