Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book of the Week

When I first read the review for Jim Geraghty's novel The Weed Agency in The National Review, I thought the book critic was exaggerating its merits. But then I had a chance to read the novel and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking it.

On paper, it seemed like a pointless attempt at recreating the wheel. After all, the classic British TV series Yes Minister had covered the same subject thoroughly many years ago and while I have always wondered what an American version of that TV show would be like, I had little hope that a novel on that theme would be all that entertaining. To my amazement, it was.

Of course, it might be argued that part of the reason the novel worked so well was that author Jim Geraghty was not content to create a simple straw man designed to stand in for all things bureaucratical. His version of Sir Humphrey Appleby had his own reasons for acting as he did and some of them were surprisingly sympathetic. Nor was Geraghty content to just skew government bureaucrats. He also included a subplot that dealt with some of the most outrageous aspects of the private sector as well.

I must confess that the need to downsize the federal bureaucracy will not strike many people as the most apt subject for a comic novel at this time but I suspect many people will enjoy this book far more than they might admit. And not of all of them will necessarily be conservatives.

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