Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I've started Retaliation and am pleased to find many old favourites are back:

1. Chapter two begins with the US President (another President as main character!) and Jim Crane telling each other things they already know.

2. An ultimatum delivered to the Japanese Ambassador.

3. A main character who made his fortune in the oil business.

4. Thinly-veiled Trudeau bashing ("That socialist bastard up there in Ottawa")

5. A deal brewing to take over a major US company (wait a minute - didn't Pierre de Gaspe already do this? Maybe not - by page 40 I still don't know the target of the takeover bid - maybe it's NOT an energy/oil related takeover this time).

Why does Chapter 1 read like a pitch?

My new favourite Rohmer line, deliberately quoted here out of context for effect:  "It'll be a cosmetic carrot for the beaver before I hit it between the eyes with my sanctions!".


  1. Rohmer is as perplexed by this new pseudo-Trudeau as he was by the last two. The PM is a utopian dunderhead AND a brilliant puppet master of international affairs. A Machiavellian stupid hippie.

    It's related to Rohmer's complicated feelings about Canada. He's a super patriot AND he thinks all our laws are idiotic. Because they needlessly screw up American business.

    Sure, America doesn't understand sovereignty, but Canada doesn't understand that nothing should ever get in the way of guys with access to capital buying and selling shit, especially any fluid that burns.

    I think Rohmer is a good guy. But it feels like he's working a problem that Stephen Harper finally solved, after decades: How to be a patriot and not love anything but money. The trick is to hold both ideas in your mind at the same time. And the solution is to not have any other ideas -- not one -- so the two remaining, contradictory ones never bump into each other.

  2. Rohmer has always had trouble modelling his prime ministers on Trudeau, primarily because he can't reconcile being intelligent with being a socialist. His best stab came with Louis Turcot in Triad because only intelligence was on display; we never got a glimpse of domestic policy. The PM in Rataliation is the worst by far because Rohmer tries to blend socialist Pierre Trudeau with businessman John Turner (who in 1982 looked to be Liberal heir apparent). The latter, by the way, once had a table at Winston's, just like the PM in the novel.

  3. Rataliation?

    Unintentional. But should appeal to anyone who thinks Exxoneration is clever.