A two week endurance of Jeffrey Archer’s First Among Equals had with it the orthodox traits of a compulsive page turner, the setting being an ever exhilarating coliseum that the British parliament has been known to be- we talking sharply eloquent declarations, acerbic wind-ups and unashamed strategic advances towards the ultimate prize that is governance. The enviably detailed text wrangled with backbenchers awaiting slip ups from their dispatch box clutching contemporaries like marauding wild dogs was nothing short of a reader’s exhilaration.
Akin to the workings of power mongering, the pondering reader is led to a sphere of unscrupulous dealings guised as unassuming protocol. The keen eye is opened up to how democracy fails to address the most mere of factors such as the wool over eye of the electorate yanked along by the illusory vote. Such antics are played out in full view of the observer by mass media, he or she has front row seating to the wide licks by cronies, drama self – generated by players and pawns who toss and turn during bedtime at the mercy an inevitable demise swelling in thought.
The terrain is one of power eluding those hell-bent on centralising it and their detriment being the odd affair, paranoia and the slightest misjudgment of a rival’s maneuvering. The one quality harboured whose dual representation of both flair and flaw is each character’s obsession with legacy left behind. One’s constant occupation as to how the world will remember their deeds is a plaque embedded and ultimately festers into irreparable psychosis.
This marvel of a read did a number on me in that it made daily accounts even the most stark, how Jozi’s modern day narrative has still dragged along the tome of the proverbial pioneer- a hustle here and one there with full knowledge that come reaping season politics are bound to set the mood. The question laid bare on paper is to what end is one willing to be a lap dog surviving on the master’s leftovers? Whether he had kitsch or corn meal for dinner…does that warrant a meek lick and the obligatory rollover? Well I don’t know, “it’s the questions..it’s the questions”