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Now or Never
8/29/2012 12:43:50 AM
Another great review!
Anthony Sharp has never pulled any punches when it comes to being the first to dramatize the key players of a new political era. In this sense, his latest book, Now Or Never, will not disappoint readers familiar with his vibrant prose and edgy caricature, but it will surprise a few with its unusually sentimental message of hope and compassion.
The shift from outright satire to a blend of more stoic observance in Sharp’s writing is refreshing, since it gives the author a chance to use his rapid-fire, witty narrative skills to ponder at times the oft-overlooked, greater utilitarian concepts of international relations. While some readers will undoubtedly find the separation of human solidarity and religious belief a morally tortuous process, for Sharp these lofty polemics serve as mere conduits for the actions of his merry band of the political and aristocratic elite.
Starring Barack Obama, Prince Charles, British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, and Osama Bin Laden, Now Or Never revisits the theme of Sharp’s first work of fiction, The Guv’nor, where God walked the earth as a purposeful meddler in human affairs. But this time God – or the Guv’nor, as Sharp would have you know him – is more of a witness to the patching-up of Arab-American relations than the protagonist who’s pulling the strings, and it won’t be necessary for readers to have read the first book to understand this one. In fact, in many ways reading Now Or Never as a prequel to The Guv’nor is an infinitely more satisfying experience.
Sharp’s trinity of two Englishman and the charismatic new American President form an organization with the single purpose of healing the disunity between the western world and the Middle East. To achieve such ends, they are forced to abandon the religious rhetoric that dominated the Carl Rove-style political era, and instead embrace a more philosophical worldview, which encompasses the acknowledgement and acceptance of history.
Here in the story Sharp is careful not to unload what might seem an implausible scenario on the reader by just hoping for pure suspension of disbelief. Instead, the author creates numerous heated dialogues and contentious debates in the context of the narrative; between Archbishops, between members of the royal family, and at one point, between an everyday New Yorker and President Obama. It’s hard to do justice to some of these dialogues, which form many of the high points of the book. Every one of them helps inch the narrative forward to create the climactic acceptance – and assassination – of Osama Bin Laden.
Certainly, some readers will hanker for more dead-pan realism in areas, in the style of Tom Clancy – particularly in the Presidential scenes. But that criticism misses a key aspect of the story, which is that despite its serious message, it is still an uproarious political satire a la The House of Baghdad.
As with most of Sharp’s works of fiction, where you would usually expect the story to end, there comes another, crucial jolt in the tale. In the case of Now Or Never, Sharp is at the pinnacle of his mastery in using this storytelling technique to wrap up the loose ends of the novel and surprise the reader with an audacious finale, to what is ultimately a dazzling international stunner.
Daniel M. Harrison
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More Blogs by Anthony (Tony) Sharp
My Steinway Blues - Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Now or Never - Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Lie Back And Think of England - Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Kindle - Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Political correctness - Sunday, January 27, 2008
The House Of Baghdad by Tony Sharp - Friday, January 06, 2006