Joel Deane reviews 'Comfort Zone' by Lindsay Tanner

I interviewed Lindsay Tanner once, back in 2012. Tanner was sixteen months retired from political life, and I had come seeking insight into the workings of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party and Canberra's byzantine politics. The former member for Melbourne – a unionist and Socialist Left factional player who had risen to become one of the brighter minds of his generation of Labor parliamentarians and a member of the so-called Rudd Government's 'gang of four' (together with Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan, and Julia Gillard) – invited me to his office at Lazard, a global firm peddling financial advice.

We met in a boardroom on the 33rd floor of 101 Collins Street. Tanner was as expected: a man of quiet authority with thoughtful views on the workings of Australia's economy and democracy. Although not as Olympian as Gough Whitlam in his disdain of state politics, Tanner was also, to my dismay, dismissive of Spring Street. He both impressed and annoyed me as an interviewee. Much the same could be said of his probationary novel, Comfort Zone.

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