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 Post subject: Verbatim: A Novel
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 9:44 pm 
Junior Member

Joined: September 7th, 2010, 8:25 pm
Posts: 940

Jeff Bursey is an island writer who also happens to be the Manager of Hansard for the legislative Assembly of PEI. Although he is a veteran short story writer and reviewer, Enfield & Wizenty recently published his first novel – Verbatim: A Novel.

He writes in the double column style of the Hansard, interspersed with letters and memos that fly among the Speaker, Clerk, Director of Hansard, and several editors.

According to Beachesne’s Parliamentary Rules & Forms,

“Hansard is not a verbatim transcript of the debates of the House. It is a transcript in extenso [at full length]. In the case of repetition or for a number of other reasons, such as more specific identification, it is acceptable to make changes so that anyone reading Hansard will get the meaning of what is said. Those who edit Hansard have an obligation to make a sentence more readable since there is a difference between the spoken and the written word.” (6th ed., 55, p.19)

The interpretation of the meaning of the above paragraph provides much tension between the director, the editors, and the transcribers in the Hansard office. A careful reading of the book will reveal the continuing battles over style that persist.

Alison Gillmor in the Winnipeg Free Press writes:

In Bursey’s fictionalized House, democratic ideals are derailed by greed, ambition and vanity, as the smug right-leaning Social Progressive government fusses and feuds with the chippy left-wing Alliance Party across the floor.

Both parties spend more time bickering and fault-finding than they do working on their constituents’ pressing social and economic problems, which include impoverished rural areas, a stressed-out health-care system and a mining mega-project with a dodgy environmental and safety record.

There are subtle hints of financial corruption, a sex scandal — what was that one member up to during summer recess? — possible election tampering, threatened violence and death.

Meanwhile, the bureaucrats in the Hansard branch are mimicking the politicians they record. A new manager, HF, is trying to reconcile his warring chief editors, who are known only by the initials with which they sign their comically snippy memos.

It’s always great to welcome a new novelist to the group of writers that we already have, especially one as sharp witted and refreshing as Jeff.


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