Sunday, September 03, 2006

Valpy on Ignatieff

I made it through Michael Valpy's 7-page story on Michael Ignatieff's character without an epiphany. Ignatieff has the sins you would expect of an achieving and ambitious golden-boy: he refused to acknowledge his fat younger brother at UCC, he left diaper-changing to his first wife from the English working class, he doesn't make time for old friends more useful at earlier stages in his ascent. Valpy seems to go on longer than necessary, and few of us would come out well if we were prominent enough for such an exercise to be conducted on us.

The incident that rankles most is the one most typical of the ruthless literati -- Ignatieff's use of his very-private mother's Alzheimer's as fodder both for a confessional article and a novel. His brother actually looked after her, but Michael wrote the widely-praised, sensitive pieces. His relatives, including Sheila and George Grant never forgave him for the intrusion.

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