“I need a favor, Fen.”
“Don’t tell me you’re publishing another book?”
“Not me, but a good friend has published an outstanding collection of short stories. A review by The Citizen’s esteemed book review editor would help immensely, not to mention furthering the cause of great literary fiction.”
“A where would one find this book?”
“Actually, the author is giving a reading at the Abbotsford Library tomorrow at 8 pm. You could meet her, conduct a brief interview, and collect the book while at the same time swill down some cheap boxed wine.”
“Sounds absolutely horrendous and I can’t imagine why I would even consider attending such an incredibly inauspicious launch other than partaking of your company. You will be there, of course.”
“Fifty miles of freeway and no access to the HOV lane for single passenger vehicles. Perhaps I’ll ask David to come along.”
“Why not?” David was Fen’s partner and the staff photographer.
“That way I can also have a drink with you and you can catch me up on the evil Marielle.”
“Sounds like fun,” Matt said. David didn’t drink, but Fen drank enough for both of them. Since Matt had been repatriated there had been many nights he and Fen had closed the Press Club and then moved on to do some serious drinking.
“What’s the name of the author?”
“Of course it is. Who else gets published these days other than new Canadian women of color? She’s not writing about her village back in India is she?” Hoodspith said.
“No, she’s not.” When drunk enough to be politically incorrect both he and the book review editor advanced the theory the Canadian publishing industry favored minority female authors like Raminder by at least a million to one over Canadian-born, white males. It likely had something to do with publishing subsidies doled out by the Canada Council, a bastion of guilt-ridden, liberal apologists.
“She’s actually very good,” Matt said.
“I’m sure, why else would you be pulling in a favor?”
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