Gadfly and gossip-hound Shinan Govani takes novelist Jonathan Bennett to task in the pages of today’s National Post, suggesting that Bennett’s portrayal of the well-heeled, monied classes in his new book, Entitlement, misses the mark. The novel, set in a fictional Toronto boys’ school called Lower Simcoe College “ which bears a striking resemblance to Upper Canada College, the private boys’ school that boasts Michael Ignatieff and Conrad Black as alumni “ includes passages stating that wealth “doesn’t matter” in Canada, and that, when it comes to success, Canadians of all classes either “disregard it or do not recognize it.”
Bollocks, declaims Govani:
Speaking as someone whose job, over the years, has involved tangling with the rich and the boldface-able, and observing these species up close, Bennett crafts an interesting point here. Too bad he’s off. It’s true that the Canadian scene when it comes to wealth and fame is markedly different “ Canadian socialites are a distinct breed, for sure! “ the world that the book reflects is a fading one, and Entitlement reads a little like a period piece.
In a post-Conrad Black-in-jail scene, in a country that has the well last-named only too happy to be covered in our own Hello! mag, and where some of these same elites cajole hard to get social column inches (believe me, I would know), the scene has changed. We’re not as pious as we think.
Glad that Govani – the Perez Hilton of the North – had the decency to use the first-person plural in that last sentence. Whatever the faults in Bennett’s novel, piety has never been high on Govani’s list of attributes.