so, i'm pretty much familiar with townssend through her adrian mole series, you know, "the secret diary of adrian mole aged 13 3/4". a great series that is as funny as it it depressing. "queen camilla" has townsend continuing to display that painful comic talent that seems to be such a penchant among the british. have you ever noticed that british comedies don't often attempt to make you laugh out loud in the way of american comedies (which try to do so and so often fail). instead of inspiring a hearty "hahahaha", i find that my reaction to most british comedies is a groan of sympathetic pain mixed with a laugh. i know the germans have a word for it, schadenfreude, but the british have done so much to perfect it. anyway, that was a long and very tedious way of saying that like "adrian mole", "queen camilla" displays the same sense of painful humour, and maintains a focus on the defining aspects of british life, but there's royalty involved now.
in "queen camilla" townsend has written a dystopian novel with more than a few hints of nineteen eighty-four. all of britain's societal rejects: the morbidly obese, teen aged single moms, pedophiles, and the royal family, just to name a few have been rounded up and made to live in exclusion zones. these are areas of terraced housing that have been fenced off to segregate them from the rest of the population. used to lives of luxury the royals are coming to terms with what it means to live a bit more frugally. charles appears well chuffed about the red plastic washing basin he acquired for only a pound at the everything a pound store. and while there is some talk that a change in government may result in the reinstatement of the monarchy, not all of the royal family are quite so willing to head back into the limelight. but real problems arise when the prime minister introduces an anti-dog bill, limiting british households to one dog per, and charging exorbitant fees for the keeping of that dog. and while the royals themselves suffer through a state of impotence, their canines are not about to take this lying down.