Archive for September, 2010

The Record in KW the first to review THR

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Books: Angus McLintock, the reluctant MP, is back in Terry Fallis’ 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 Fallis’ 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 — engineering professor Angus McLintock — were determined to lose.

Fallis’ 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 others’ grammar errors, but while Angus prefers to sail straight into the fray, Daniel is kept busy in the background steering the boat.

Fallis’ 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 Queen’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 Addison’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 — and that’s no small feat in a book featuring an American First Lady from hell and a political adversary known as “Flamethrower.”

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 Fallis’ 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 Toymaker’s Son (Pugwash Publishers).

THR excerpt in Canadian Government Executive

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Earlier in the summer, I got an email and then a phone call from Toby Fyfe, Editor-in-Chief of the fine trade magazine, Canadian Government Executive (CGE), to discuss The High Road. He’s a smart guy and a nice guy. He asked permission for the September issue of CGE to carry an exclusive excerpt from The High Road. Given the mag’s readership of senior civil servants, Toby thought if might be a great fit. I was certainly flattered but had to check with the powers that be at McClelland & Stewart as this was the first time I’d encountered such a request. In short order, permission was secured and in the next week or so, the September issue of CGE will be landing on subscribers’ desks complete with an exclusive chunk of The High Road. Here’s hoping it’s well-received. My thanks to Toby for the idea and I hope it doesn’t kill sales of the venerable magazine’s October issue!