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Easy to Like 

By Edward Riche (House of Anansi Press)

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Elliot Jonson can’t catch a break. Edward Riche’s newest protagonist boasts a stagnant screenwriting career, an estranged son and newly-homosexual ex-wife, and a passion (but lack of skill) for wine-making. Bitter with his unaccommodating life, dodging debts and caught up in a burgeoning scandal, Elliot moves to escape to France but finds himself detained in Toronto---purgatory for showbiz minds---where he manages to bluff his way to the top of the CBC. Easy to Like is just that and more, Riche’s prose is astute and bitingly comic in its depictions of Canada and the average Canadian viewer. Although his lack of concern for plot points may alienate some readers, the real pleasure comes from his richness of characters, ridiculous situations, and surprisingly believable comedic timing. Elliot’s life is a comedy of errors that we applaud with one hand, the other patting ourselves on the back for being---as credit-loving Canadians---such great inspiration.

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