A Far Country is presented as the autobiography of a corporate lawyer, a “typical American” disciple of the doctrine of enlightened self interest.
Winston Churchill dealt the results of that doctrine in his 1913 bestseller. This time, however, he treats it from the perspective of the man who pursues expediency.
A Far Country by Winston Churchill
MacMillan, 1915, 509 pages. 1915 bestseller #2. Project Gutenberg ebook #3739 My grade: C+.
After his father’s death, Hugh Paret goes into law. He learns to use the law to manipulate, and thus becomes a behind-the-scenes political power.
Hugh is opposed by Hermann Krebs, skillful advocate for the powerless, whom Hugh respects and despises.
Only his childhood friend Nancy seems to see Hugh’s career as a downward path, but she, too, chooses expediency.
Hugh marries a woman without ambition and soon regrets choosing Maude, though it draws him and Nancy closer than ever.
Maude keeps up appearances until the children are in their teens. Then she quietly takes them off to France just as Hugh is being considered for a run for the US Senate.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Hugh faces strong opposition from his old opponent, Krebs.
The plot of the novel is essentially a romance, albeit an unconventional one.
Churchill’s characters are believable enough to keep readers’ interest, but not believable enough to make the book memorable two weeks after reading it.
©2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni