Martin McKenzie-Murray's skewering of the Canberra bureaucracy doesn't have enough bite to hit home

By Tj Collins
March 5 2021 - 1:00pm
Author Martin McKenzie-Murray. Picture: Reuben Acciano
  • The Speechwriter, by Martin McKenzie-Murray. Scribe, $29.99.

Looking over the barely decipherable notes I scrawled as I read The Speechwriter, Martin McKenzie-Murray's debut novel, a few things stand out. Apparently, it only took me four or five pages to conclude that Toby, the book's titular character, is a "nerdish try-hard". Premature perhaps, but fair. After all, this a thirty-something guy who says things like "pissant" and "colour me chastened", a guy who talks about "reading the Russians". It's little wonder his colleagues call him a "weird prick".



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