The Age of Improv


248 pages
ISBN 0-00-223747-4
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.


Rick Salutin is a cultural/social/political columnist for The Globe and
Mail and an award-winning novelist and playwright.

This “political novel of the future” is set in early 21st-century
Canada, which has become a country completely sold-out and
soul-destroyed by Americanization, free trade, big business, and the
collapse of both the social safety net and left-wing political parties.
Matthew Deans, an actor, unexpectedly finds himself prime minister. As
Matthew reflects on his life and career while trying to lead the
country, his reflections evoke some quintessentially Canadian moments
(the winning goal of the Canada–Soviet hockey game, Ben Johnson’s
drug test), skewer a well-known Toronto media mogul in an amusing
caricature, and raise interesting questions about the directions in
which Canada is headed. The novel also examines the relationship between
politics and improvisational theatre.

The Age of Improv is an important book of ideas, but it works better as
political commentary than as a novel whose characters the reader cares


Salutin, Rick., “The Age of Improv,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,