The Record in KW the first to review THR
Books: Angus McLintock, the reluctant MP, is back in Terry Fallisâ€™ sequel to The Best Laid Plans
September 03, 2010
By Jean Mills
The High Road
by Terry Fallis
(McClelland & Stewart, 352 pages, $19.99 softcover)
When we last saw political aide Daniel Addison, the narrator of Terry Fallisâ€™ Leacock Medal-winning novel, The Best Laid Plans, he was trying to recover from the results of an election campaign which both he and his candidate â€” engineering professor Angus McLintock â€” were determined to lose.
Fallisâ€™ debut novel was a blast from start to finish and in the sequel, The High Road, to be released on Tuesday, he picks up exactly where he left off, chronicling the next steps in the journey of the reluctant parliamentarian and his sidekick.
Still grieving his recently deceased wife, McLintock approaches his new political career as a way to survive. Riding shotgun is Addison, a talented politico who would rather be an English professor. The two men share a love of chess and of correcting othersâ€™ grammar errors, but while Angus prefers to sail straight into the fray, Daniel is kept busy in the background steering the boat.
Fallisâ€™ talent for alternating between slapstick and sentiment (the good kind) proves that the accolades for The Best Laid Plans were not misplaced.
In Addison, the politically savvy but sometimes bumbling narrator, Fallis is able to combine his own experiences as a political aide at Queenâ€™s Park and on Parliament Hill with a wicked satirical view of the Ottawa most of us will never see. And in McLintock, we meet an MP who epitomizes the public servant we all crave: hardworking, honest and fiercely Canadian.
The High Road includes other familiar faces: Muriel, the diehard Liberal octogenarian who knows the game inside and out; Pete1 and Pete2 who bring punk and politics face to face; Lindsay, who has become Addisonâ€™s partner in crime (and other places); and the players of Parliament Hill, the good, bad and sometimes ugly. Fallis nails every scene with a deftness that prevents characters from turning into caricatures â€” and thatâ€™s no small feat in a book featuring an American First Lady from hell and a political adversary known as â€œFlamethrower.â€
An interesting note: Fallis, a Toronto writer, self-published and podcast The Best Laid Plans before winning the 2008 Leacock Medal for Humour and drawing the attention of publishers McClelland & Stewart. The High Road has already been made available as a podcast, but readers will want to savour Fallisâ€™ unique gift for written storytelling.
The big question remains: will there be a book three?
Jean Mills is a Guelph writer and the author of the young adult novels Abby and the Curling Chicks and Toymakerâ€™s Son (Pugwash Publishers).