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Fotheringham's Fictionary of Facts and Follies

james hörner

when I was younger I used to skip over Fotheringham's last page column in Maclean's. Reading it was a confusing affair, as I couldn't understand his references, didn't get his jokes, and often had no idea what the whole mess of words was getting at.

Fotheringham's Fictionary book cover With age I think I'm finally capable of comprehending, somewhat, Fotheringham's territory. He still knows more about politics, places, and people than I ever will - but that's what he gets paid for. And that's why we read him, isn't it? His obscenely vast knowledge of overheard conversations and intimate rumours never ceases to tickle.

The Fictionary is better than his articles. He was forced to slow down here, categorize, keep to one (or close to one) topic. In other words, it is mentally manageable reading, rather than an overwhelming burst of references and multi-layered in-jokes.

This is more than a book of erudition and rumour mongering, however. There are so many eulogies here that many a devoted Fotheringhamite will walk away misty-eyed. These poignant reminisces and portraits of those now gone are really touching.

What we have in our hands is an autobiography, of sorts. Slivers of Dr. Foth's life wrapped up in stories, boasts, and humour.

Some of the jokes and joke phrases ("Regressive Convertible Party") grow so over used by the end of the book that they will never be funny, under any circumstances, ever again. At the same time, many of the stories he tells are absolutely priceless for their ability to make you laugh out loud.

Redundancy aside, this is Fotheringham at his bite-sized best. Clearly written and cutting in its pointed wit. These addictive ditties should keep you compulsively reading long into the night.

published by key porter books
ISBN 1-55263-357-8

james hörner edits canadian content.

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