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Governor Of The Northern Province Hardcover – Aug 22 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Canada (AHC); 1st Edition edition (Aug. 22 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670065641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670065646
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,688,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


In his take-no-prisoners novel about politics, immigration, and rock-solid Canadian naiveté, Randy Boyagoda emerges as the Evelyn Waugh of the North. An African named Bokarie arrives to work in a convenience store in a small town near Ottawa, desperate to conceal his warlord past, yet secretly laughing at what passes here for tragedy. A little girl’s accidental drowning results in a “Think Pink” campaign-the child’s favourite colour-that conveniently re-launches Jennifer Thickson’s stalled political career. This graceless, ambitious young woman is undaunted by her previous political failure, when she ran unopposed for Graduating Class President and lost to “None of the Above”.
Playing along with the patronising ignorance of the townsfolk-their "zoological stares"-Bokarie gets carried away by local politics, graced as he is with a clever tongue, plenty of Biblical references, and great dance moves. Joining Jennifer’s nascent campaign, he aims to accompany her to Ottawa. Boyagoda shows a shrewd knowledge of the workings of small town Canada, where the guy with the car dealership is the richest in town, and an Alderman’s widow expects to win a seat in Parliament by riding on her dead husband’s coattails. That this doesn’t happen is deeply satisfying.
The fun continues in Ottawa, where Jennifer makes an unexpected splash with “Think Pink”-handily transformed into a reference to African dawns-and her photogenic assistant. Before you can say “multiculturalism” they’re swept away on an African junket with our cunning female Governor General. By now “emptied out”, haunted by memories of violence, and of his one spontaneous act of heroism, Bokarie prepares to meet his fate back home. Although we are expected to swallow a few too many surprises, there are enough expert jabs to the soft belly of our collective smugness, coupled with brutal global realities, to keep us shocked and amused for the ride that the warlord and the neophyte undertake radically alters both their lives.
Nancy Wigston (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada

'An auspicious debut' -- The National Post

'Lively...zeroes in on various targets without slackening pace: colonialism, foreign aid, Anglo reserve and the exalted status of hockey all take stinging hits. Despite this novel’s scathing wit and sardonic tone, a hint of idealism sneaks in after all.' -- b

'Nice liberal Canada skewered for dinner: A T.O. smartypants creates a war criminal to send up smug Canuck hypocrisy and gets a Giller Prize nod for his trouble' -- headline from a major review in the "Toronto Star"

About the Author

Writer, critic and scholar Randy Boyagoda is a professor of American literature at Ryerson University in Toronto. He is a contributor to Harper's, The Walrus, the National Post and The Globe and Mail.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Thorburn on Oct. 7 2006
Format: Hardcover
I heard about The Governor of the Northern Province when I heard Randy Boyagoda reading a little snippet on the CBC radio. I bought it because I laughed through the entire reading and his description of it, and himself. The book more than lives up to that introduction -- it is hilarious, it is irreverent, it is stunningly adjective- and adverb-filled, which in many cases could be tiresome, but in Boyagoda's case is gut-bustingly funny. He paints a horrifying and funny picture of loss-turned-to-victory-turned-to-loss and the gullibility of the knee-jerk liberal that populates Canadian literature.

No mere "immigrant", Bokarie is the most well-rounded and bizarre character to emerge from the increasingly self-righteous Canadiana that is making Canada famous. On the other hand, it is not stupidly right-wing either. This kind of satire -- political, social, psychological, philosophical, cultural -- is what satire was meant to be: a pointed stick in the eye to the satisfied.

I adored it, felt guilty, felt silly, felt right, felt wrong, and ultimately felt like the world was a more funny place than I had ever dreamt of. Mr. Boyagoda (actually it is Dr. Boyagoda -- but his secret need not be revealed to those with their boots firmly dug into the manure-piles of the unconvinced) has focussed his glass on the world that supports the Liberal Party's "values" (or, as he calls it, the PRI of the north!), and pointed out that although Harper's government is more ludicrous than can possibly be lampooned, the Liberals (never mind the NDP, or the "independents") need a good shake too! I am now a confirmed fan, and urge him to write as much and a bitingly as possible, as soon as possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ross Hart on Sept. 26 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Governor of the Northern Province is written in a double helix of prose. Always compelling and pulling you forward riding the rails out of Africa into Canada and the development of two quite different people(s.) The helix is bridged by an assortment of animal traits and also spiritual connections that seem to be proportional to the strength of that animal nature inherent in man. Two slugs in coital bliss are eaten by a bird while Jennifer Thickson, one of the two main characters, is standing ankle deep in Ottawa mud looking on; nature is a violent place.

In Bokarie's, the other main character, homeland of Atwenty a bird eating two slugs would be insignificant unless you were hungry for a bird; violence lives beside tragedy and both are always in the foreground in this Darwinian place of heat and passion. In equatorial Africa knives are sharpened, prey is sought and inevitably found and human life is the least valuable commodity in the land. And it is therefore the most easily spent. What is the exchange rate for human life in this land? What is the price of political accession and glory in Canada? These are Bokarie's conundrums. This is the ride Mr. Boyagoda takes us on, the friction between what one knows to be true and what is convenient. More than just a story this book is a roller coaster. Have fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.G. Landry on July 13 2006
Format: Hardcover
Without question, Randy Boyagoda's "Governor of the Northern Province" is the most exciting example of Canadian prose in a VERY long time. It is a pleasure to find a new author who demonstrates a style so elegant and addictive. His work should be recognised as a triumph for Canadian literature! (I will never be able to look at the colour 'pink' the same way again!) Mr. boyagoda - thank you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marc Bhalla on Aug. 14 2006
Format: Hardcover
This takes Canadian literature to a whole new level! Anyone who likes to read will be captivated from beginning to end in this incredible work of art that is destined for greatness.
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