Monday, October 19, 2020

Skeffington! Skeffington!

The Last Hurrah by Edwin O'Connor was published in 1956.  A highly entertaining novel about the mayoral campaign of Frank Skeffington - an old school Irish American politician - it is also quite informative on the ways of municipal (and even national) politics. An excerpt:

The reporter had been persistent. "Which great books, Governor?"

Skeffington's eyes had opened, the silver head had lifted, and once more the reporters met the deadpan look. "I don't know whether you'd know them or not," he had said thoughtfully. "The Bible, which is a book composed of two parts, commonly called the Old and the New Testaments. The poems and plays of Shakespeare, an Englishman. And during the winter months I would also take the paper which you represent."

The reporter had said warily, "Thanks for the compliment, Governor. I suppose there's some special reason?"

Skeffington had nodded. "During the long winter months a glowing fire might be welcome," he had said. "And I have found that your paper burns very well. Makes grand kindling. I don't imagine that most people are aware of that. If they were, your paper's very small circulation might be substantially increased. Any more questions, gentlemen?"


chris said...

If I recall correctly Skeffington also responded to a negative article about him by writing to the reporter saying something like, "I'm in the smallest room in my house. I have your recent article in front of me, soon it will be behind me."

Michael Wade said...


I think you're right!

A very funny novel.