The Good Mayor is Scottish author Andrew Nicoll's debut novel and is newly released from Random House Canada. Nicoll is a former lumberjack turned newspaper journalist who wrote The Good Mayor on his commute back and forth to work.
It's an absolutely quirky, offbeat, enchanting, magical love story.
This tale is narrated by St. Walpurnia, a bearded nun, who has watched over the small town of Dot, in a forgotten corner of the Baltic, for many, many years. Tibo Krovic is the mayor of Dot. He is known as Good Mayor Krovic as he always says and does the right thing. The good mayor has harboured a secret for many years. He is in love with his lonely, married secretary - Mrs. Agathe Stopak. But he worships from afar, or at least peeking under the crack in his office door, afraid to let her know of his feelings. One day fate, or St. Walpurnia, steps in and it seems like the good mayor and Mrs. Stopak may have a chance at true love. But the path of love is almost always crooked....
Now it sounds like a mushy love story but it's anything but. We have Strega Mamma Cesare (an Italian witch) who sees and knows much more about Dot and its' inhabitants than anyone realizes.
" Small and brown, Mamma Cesare waddled in front of them like a magic toadstool leading two lost children through a fairy story."
And that is the feel of The Good Mayor - a fairy tale for adults. Anyone who loved the film The Princess Bride will be enchanted by this story.
There is a circus troupe that only some can hear and see, but they seem to appear at the most opportune moments. And an enigmatic, very overweight lawyer who seems to also know a bit more than he should.
"...nothing in Dot is ever just quite what it seems. Nothing."
The story itself is charming but it is Nicoll's language and telling of the story that make it so wonderful. The thoughts, the feelings, the descriptions -all of it captured and held me until I reluctantly turned the last page.
As St. Walpurnia says "Anyway, this story is much more about the telling than the things that happen in it..."
Tender, funny, charming and beguiling - this one will stay with you and make you wish for a little bit of magic in your life...