Joel Deane reviews 'Comfort Zone' by Lindsay Tanner

Joel Deane reviews 'Comfort Zone' by Lindsay Tanner

Comfort Zone

by Lindsay Tanner

Scribe $29.99 pb, 240 pp, 9781925321029

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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Joel Deane

Joel Deane

Joel Deane is a speechwriter, novelist, and poet. He has worked in Australia and the United States as a journalist and political staffer – covering the 2000 Democratic National Convention, serving as principal speechwriter to Labor Premiers Steve Bracks and John Brumby, and lecturing widely on politics and public language. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award. His new non-fiction book, Catch and Kill: The Politics of Power, will be published by the University of Queensland Press in July 2015.

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