Michael Dobbs’ writing style starts to really shine through as I get into the third part of House of Cards.
Roger O’Neill remains at the center of the first chapter of this section. He’s at an event celebrating the election and the predicted victory for the incumbent party. It’s mostly an opportunity for O’Neill to hang out with businessmen. Not business people, even though Dobbs doesn’t explicitly say it, my guess that it’s just men in that room. One of the politicians makes some…gross comments about O’Neill’s secretary, Penny. She only makes a couple of brief appearances, her character introduction, when she slips away from the party, and when she appears to give a shady phone call to O’Neill. Then again, I don’t really blame her for leaving the event at the first opportunity.
I’m not entirely sure what was going on, but it’s definitely something on the shady side. Essentially, O’Neill gets a phone call, apparently from the Prime Minister, which he takes. We only see O’Neill’s side of the conversation, but at the end, we see that it wasn’t at all what it seemed. For somebody that was in the room, it seemed like O’Neill spoke briefly with the Prime Minister’s secretary, then congratulated the Prime Minister himself and deliver the Prime Minister’s thanks to everybody that helped their party in the election. However, once the call ends, we see that it was actually Penny calling from her car phone. Oh yeah, this book is from 1989 and it takes place in an ambiguous year. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just interesting.
The phone call is kind of confusing, but it feels deliberate. It feels like I’m getting just enough information to keep me hooked, I don’t feel overly confused. I’ve noticed a lot of this sort of style in House of Cards. Over and over I kept thinking how much I just wanted to KNOW what was going to happen. Even though the perspective shifts every couple of chapters, I never feel like I know everything that’s going on. To be honest, the plot is moving extremely slowly. The first couple of chapters took place on election day. Still, there is yet to be a definite result for the election, only the projections.
There’s this build-up with the results of the election. Everyone seems to expect Henry Collingridge to remain the Prime Minister as his party remains in power. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can’t help but think that the result isn’t going to be what we think it’s going to be.