Fans of Christopher Wunderlee or William Gaddis will enjoy Bursey's fictionalized account of a House of Commons governing an unnamed Atlantic province. Like Gaddis' technique in "A Frolic of His Own", the novel is the official record of legislative proceedings by a group called Hansard, which, as with Gaddis' using legal briefs and pronouncements, allows Bursey to satirize parliamentary politics with sharp wit and clever juxtaposition. Here, a rightwing party merges with/squares off with a leftwing party, but not for lofty social issues or even a political agenda that reflects their constituents' objectives, but for grossly human personal gain and power. Amid a backdrop of serious problems that include poverty, environmental catastrophes, a recession, failing healthcare, and earmarked projects causing more harm than good, we have financial corruption, sex scandals, fraud, even violence - none of which seems to affect the self-involved politicians out for personal gain and pet grudges.
Well worth the dense prose, intricate minutiae and the very well-crafted bureaucratic memoranda and correspondence, "Verbatim' layers on details as the employees from Hansard begin to act more like the politicians they are recording (picking fights, personal attacks, becoming more involved with personal success than their project, etc.), slowly succumbing to the very same pettiness that they witness from the politicians - revealing just how power corrupts.