15 July 2013

Harper Hockey Book Watch: Year Ten, Day 27

Another July brings another Quill & Quire Fall Preview issue and the usual embarrassment of promised riches. Nothing from me, I'm afraid, and nothing from Stephen Harper either.

But that can't be right... We were told months ago by agent Bruce Westwood and publisher Simon & Schuster that the Prime Minister's long-awaited hockey history would be landing in November.

So, why no mention in Quill & Quire? Why nothing in the publisher's fall catalogues? Most intriguing of all, why is there not one word about the book or its author on the Simon & Schuster website?

For a while there it seemed like the stars were aligning for Mr Harper. In May, just three months after Simon & Schuster was outed as the PM's publisher, Heritage Canada announced that it would allow the company to publish Canadian books in Canada.

The reasons behind the decision remain a mystery. Never mind. For Simon & Schuster it was a twelve-year-old dream realized. And it couldn't have come at a better time for Stephen Harper, saving him the humiliation of having his book blocked from publication in the country he governs.

Since then, Mr Harper's heavenly bodies have really gone out of whack. The country has been beset by disasters both Shakespearean and Biblical in nature, including a massive flood that seemed intelligently designed to disrupt the Conservative Party's National Convention. In this, the summer of our discontent, Simon & Schuster suddenly finds itself saddled with an author who, like stablemate Paula Deen, is becoming more unpopular with each passing day.

The good news is that the convention has been rescheduled for All Hallow's Eve; perfect timing for the book's launch, presuming it's still slated for a November release. Curiously, the Conservative Party website maintains that Mr Harper is still working on it.

In related news, the man who should've been Mr Harper's chief foe in the last election has a new title coming this fall from Random House Canada.

It should be an interesting read. Michael Ignatieff may have been a bit of a wash as a politician, but he sure can write.

And he can skate.

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  1. It astounds me that Heritage Canada can say "Canada has a vibrant book industry" while simultaneously approving mergers that see even fewer publishers in Canada. There are no major Canadian publishers left and while there are many vibrant small press publishers, many of them have a tough time of it. Try and find any of their books in an actual book store. Go ahead, I dare you. Good luck with that.

    1. The only thing vibrant is the industry's speed - that is the rate at which publishers are going under, closing up shop or, in the case of McClelland & Stewart, simply handed over gratis to a foreign-based multinational. That this PM chose to sign with just such a multinational is to be expected.

      That said, the small presses that exist are vibrant; without that energy, and the ability to run on empty, they would not be able to exist.