15 May 2013

Review: THE MARMALADE FILES, Steve Lewis & Chris Uhlmann

  • published by Fourth Estate (Harper Collins Australis 2012)
  • ISBN 978-0-7322-9474-8
  • 311 pages
  • Read an extract
Synopsis (Publisher)

A sticky scandal. A political jam. THE MARMALADE FILES will be the most-talked about political satirical thriller of 2012!

An imaginative romp through the dark underbelly of politics by two veteran Canberra insiders. When seasoned newshound Harry Dunkley is slipped a compromising photograph one frosty Canberra dawn he knows he′s onto something big. In pursuit of the scoop, Dunkley must negotiate the deadly corridors of power where the minority Toohey Government hangs by a thread - its stricken Foreign Minister on life support, her heart maintained by a single thought. Revenge.

Rabid Rottweilers prowl in the guise of Opposition senators, union thugs wage class warfare, TV anchors simper and fawn ... and loyalty and decency have long since given way to compromise and treachery.

From the teahouses of Beijing to the beaches of Bali, from the marbled halls of Washington to the basements of the bureaucracy, Dunkley′s quest takes him ever closer to the truth - and ever deeper into a lethal political game.

Award-winning journalists Steve Lewis of News Ltd and Chris Uhlmann from the ABC combine forces in this arresting novel that proves fiction is stranger than fact.

My Take

Each of the shortish chapters in this novel is headed with a date, starting with June 16 2011, but the reader soon discovers these chapters are not sequential although there is a logic to them. Eventually this sent me to pen and paper to try to make sure I understood the time line.

We begin with Harry Dunkley, press gallery veteran in the National Parliament in Canberra being given a photo that is about 30 years old. He quickly identifies the Cabinet minister who is centre stage but who are the others?  Later on the same day Catriona Bailey, once Labour Prime Minister, but now the Foreign Minister, has a very public stroke on national television. 

So Labour's Toohey government, already an unpopular minority government hanging on by a thread, and predicted to lose the next election, begins a downward spiral. Can things get any worse?

THE MARMALADE FILES is political satire rather than strictly crime fiction, although crimes, including a murder, are committed. There's a quirky humour from beginning to end, and certainly connections to current Australian politics, even if events have been warped and names changed.

For me, a fascinating read from beginning to end, although the ending strained my sense of credibility.

I'm not sure that THE MARMALADE FILES will have much appeal outside Australia but in case you do want to look for it, try Amazon (Kindle) or the publisher.

My rating: 4.8

And what do Australia's politicians say? (Do they recognise themselves?)


Other reviews:

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Political satire is really hard to pull off well. I'm glad this one succeeded for you.

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