Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Number 3 on the Toronto Star Bestsellers List

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Thank you all who have picked up Albatross already. You’re clearly moving the needle! The novel has opened at number three on the Toronto Star Bestseller list one week after launch. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful.

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My interview on CBC-Radio’s q

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

I had a great time this morning being interviewed on CBC Radio’s flagship arts and culture program, q, with guest host Ali Hassan. He did a wonderful job of making me feel relaxed. It was like we were just having a conversation over lunch except there was no lunch but there were headphones. My thanks to Emma, the talented producer at q, for helping make this happen.

Click here to listen to the interview.

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Albatross is a CBC Books #1 Bestseller

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

A tweet caught my eye as it flashed by in my Twitter stream. I took a closer look and was glad I did. Here’s the lovely tweet:

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What a thrill. Seems as if Albatross has taken flight (pun intended) and I couldn’t be happier. When I clicked through on the link in the tweet, it confirmed the unlikely but welcome news. Exactly one week after it was released, Albatross is the #1 bestseller in Canadian fiction, at least for the next seven days.

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Globe and Mail reviews Albatross

Monday, August 19th, 2019

It’s always nice to make the Globe and Mail! The takeaway line for me in this mini-review:

“This novel has a fable-like quality and philosophical depths that Fallis plumbs with a deceptive subtlety.”

Having seldom been known for being either deceptive or subtle in my writing, I’m very happy with this. It’s still early days, but I’m pleased with how everything is unfolding since the launch of Albatross less than a week ago.

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Winnipeg Free Press Reviews Albatross

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

I’ve been very fortunate with reviews from the Winnipeg Free Press over the years. The tradition continues and I’m grateful.

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Albatross is a Globe and Mail Bestseller

Friday, August 16th, 2019

So thrilled to learn this morning from my wonderful editor at McClelland & Stewart, Bhavna Chauhan, that Albatross has cracked the Globe and Mail Bestsellers list just three days after it hit bookstores. I’m over the moon. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen so soon after publication. Onwards!

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Toronto Star Reviews Albatross

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

It’s always nice when a major media outlet reviews your novel. It’s even nicer when you and your novel survive the experience. I’m grateful.

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My Maclean’s piece about Trump’s demise

Monday, August 28th, 2017

The folks at Maclean’s asked a few writers to speculate on how the Trump presidency might end. Here’s what I came up with.

Mcleans headline

A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of six national bestsellers, including his latest novel, One Brother Shy, all published by McClelland & Stewart.

It’s really not part of my job description, but no one else will do it. And there is a certain logic to it, I guess, given that I’m the one closest to him—physically, I mean. But I should earn even more danger pay than I already get for this little add-on to my duties.

“Mr. President,” I whisper to the massive lump lying alone in a massive bed. His snoring sounds a lot like an industrial wood-chipper, or three. “Mr. President, it’s time to get up.”

“Whaaaaadaaaaayishit?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. President, I didn’t quite get all of… um… any of that.”

He rolled over in the dimness—the light in the room, I mean—and I saw poking from beneath the sheets a whoosh of golden hair that looked like the Statue of Liberty’s torch, only brighter.

“What day ish it?”

“It’s Thursday, Mr. President.”

“No, no. You know what I mean,” he croaked.

“Oh right, sorry Mr. President,” I replied as I carefully calculated the right response in my head. “Um, Mr. President, it’s Day 547, I mean, 547 of 1,460. So that leaves, um, 913 to go.”

A small orangey fist emerged from the sheets and hammered the mattress four or five times accompanied by a noise that I wouldn’t have believed was created by a human had I not been standing right next to him.

“Aaaarrrrrhhllooooooooowshhhh!”

“It’ll go quickly, sir,” I soothed, as I’d been instructed to by his fourth Chief of Staff. “But you really should get up. You’ve got a 10 a.m.”

He pulled down the sheets, mercifully to just below his chin. His hair went madly off in all directions but I could see his shining eyes and a look of hope flashed on his face like a pulsing neon restaurant sign.

“Is it golf? Is it a 10 a.m. tee time?”

“Um, no sir. Sorry. I really wish it were, but you’ve got a meeting in the Oval with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

“Frickelangeloooo! I hate those guys. I just can’t. I won’t. It’s too much. That’s it. It’s over. My schedule is friggin’ HUGE. It’s crazy! Yesterday, there was a meeting booked for 9 in the morning. Nine! It’s a disaster! You can’t tell me that Obama started his day at 9 friggin’ o’clock.”

“Um, Mr. President, 9 is kind of early. but it isn’t really that early. Most people, well at least some people, are at their jobs by 9.”

“More fake news. You’ve been brainwashed. It’s still friggin’ dark at 9. Maybe I could golf at that hour, maybe, but working like a job, uh-uh, forget about it,” he sighed. “Geez, I haven’t worked this hard since…”

I waited as he studied the ceiling.

Still, I waited.

“Mr. President?”

“Shhhh! Hang on, I’m thinking,” he said holding up his hand and scrunching up his face. “Hmmm, I guess I’ve never worked this hard. And it’s gotta stop. Now.”

“Yes sir.”

“What’s your name again?”

“Austin, sir. Trevor Austin.”

“Are you my butler or something?” he asked.

“No sir. You fired him four weeks ago,” I replied. “I’m Secret Service, on your personal detail.”

“Well, you’re fired,” he said. “Wait, Secret Service? To protect me?”

“Yes sir.”

“Okay, you can stay.”

“Thank you, sir,” I sighed. “So what do I tell the Joint Chiefs of Staff? I don’t think you can quite get there for 10 o’clock.”

“Tell them to ‘make breakfast great again,’ have an Egg McMuffin, and I’ll see them at noon, maybe.”

“Sorry sir, but the schedule says you’ve got a call with President Putin at noon.”

“The Vlad-man! He’s a good guy. A little short. But a good guy. And he agrees with me that Transformers should not be in the military.”

“Sorry, sir?”

“My announcement last year that Transformers can no longer serve in the U.S. military,” he explained. “Oh yeah, and neither can Alec Baldwin or Melissa McWhat’s-her-head.”

“Mr. President, I think you may mean transgender, not transformers.”

“Whatever. I was watching the new Transformers movie last night on my Presidential iPad. Beautiful flick. Loved it. You seen it?”

“No, sir,” I replied. “Um, sir, what about the Joint Chiefs?”

“Cancel it and tell…Mike…you know…my VP, to see me. I’ll be right here thinking about stuff. Great stuff. Beautiful stuff.”

“Yes sir.”

“Hey, before you go, can you show me your gun again?”

I pulled it out and held it up so he could see it, again.

“Can I hold it?” he asked, “Pleeeeease.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. President, I’m not permitted to surrender my firearm to anyone,” I explained. “It’s for your own protection.”

He nodded.

“Yeah, okay. I get that.”

___________________

The Joint Chiefs weren’t happy. And Mike Pence was in for the shock of his life, even though the President had severely depleted his VP’s capacity for shock. Mike Pence already felt shocked out. But he wasn’t. Not quite.

When I slipped back into the presidential bedroom, or what we in the Secret Service call the POTUS Pad, the President was sitting up in bed wearing a fluffy terrycloth robe with the Presidential seal on one side and the Trump corporate logo on the other. He was leafing through Sports Illustrated. It was the same issue he’d been “reading” for several weeks already, the annual swimsuit edition.

“Ivanka could totally be in here. No problem. Done deal,” he said, waving around the magazine.

“Yes sir,” I replied. “Mr. President, Vice President Pence is here.”

“Fan-friggin-tastic. It’s about time. Send him in and maybe get me some kind of breakfast sandwich with sausage and cheese. Lots of cheese.”

I headed to the White House kitchen as the Vice President slipped into the room.

“Hi Mike,” I heard the President say. “Buckle your seatbelt.”

_____________________

Three days later, you can see me on television, standing behind and to the left of the President, as he and Vice-President Pence stood at the lectern in the Rose Garden. My darting eyes shielded by sunglasses, I surveyed the gobsmacked faces of the press corps. There was no teleprompter and no speaking notes. Never a good sign.

“My fellow Americans, I took office 18 months ago when America was in serious trouble. It was a disaster. Since then so much beautiful stuff has happened, and all of it good for the country. I promised to win the election against that mean woman, Hillary Clinton, and I did. I promised to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and well, we were almost there before John McCain and those two witches killed it. But that’s not my fault. I promised to create more jobs in this country, and just look how many different people have worked on my staff since then. Lots of jobs. The best jobs. I’ve stood up for America on the world stage. All the other leaders love me even more than that Justin Trudel guy. It’s fantastic. I promised to make America great again, and I have.

“So my job is done here. I changed America and it’sgoing to continue to change. And I did it in a year and a half. So I want to give someone else the chance to ride this wave now that I’ve done the heavy lifting. So I’m stepping down as of, well as of right now, and my trusted Vice President, Mike Spence…”

“Pence!” the Vice President hissed from the corner of his smiling mouth just loudly enough for everyone in the Rose Garden to hear, and several who weren’t.

“Pence, Mike Pence, will take over as President according to the Constitution of the United States. So, over to you, Mike. Don’t you mess up all the good work I’ve done. Get that wall built. And give my best to the Boy Scouts because I won’t be speaking at their big jumbalay thingy this year, you will be. And they love me. They really do. You should have seen them last year. It was beautiful. Okay folks, write whatever the hell you want, I am out of here as soon as Marine One is warmed up.

“God bless America and God bless me.”

Toronto Star Reviews One Brother Shy

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Note: Several plot spoilers in this review 

TorStar logo

Twins reunite in quest to find father in One Brother Shy

In One Brother Shy by Terry Fallis, the search for family is also a tale of self-discovery.

Aficionados of novelist Terry Fallis’s fiction could be forgiven for thinking his new novel, One Brother Shy, might be the kind of comic turn that has earned him two Stephen Leacock Medals for Humour. But they’d be wrong. Although one central character’s somewhat chippy personality has its amusing moments, the book is more psychological whodunit than side-splitting farce. The book is also something of an ode to one of the most unique emotional bonds a human can experience — the ineffable connection shared by identical twins.

But at the narrative’s outset, the shy, diffident and, yes, chippy Ottawa-based Alex MacAskill has no idea he was separated at birth from his much more sophisticated London-based twin brother Matt Paterson. Resolving the mystery of their separation and discovering the father they never knew keeps the novel humping along at a breakneck pace.

The action begins with the death of Alex’s mother and two pictures she leaves behind as a mysterious legacy. One of them shows a man, seen only from the shoulders down, cradling two newborns in his arms. The pictures contain a clue that would be critical to tracking him down: an odd tattoo on the left arm. But Alex initially has more pressing business: finding his twin who’s out there — somewhere.

Alex possesses a useful skill to aid and abet his sleuthing. A brilliant code writer, he’s developing state-of-the-art facial-recognition software, so faster than a speeding hard drive, Alex quickly discovers his bro is a successful tech entrepreneur in London and seemingly his polar opposite, emotionally, psychologically and experientially. Or is he?

A compelling subplot in One Brother Shy is the impact of a humiliating trauma Alex experienced as a 15-year-old aspiring high-school actor. After spiking his Coke with a Viagra-like pill, two bullies lower a dazed, naked — and tumescent — Alex onto the stage of his high-school Christmas pageant and the ensuing video — “ARCHangel” — became the Internet’s first viral sensation. Humiliated, Alex retreats from life, going emotionally AWOL for the next decade, until he meets his twin.

Once reunited, the twins go in search of their father, an odyssey that takes them to Putin’s Moscow with its vestiges of Soviet-era spooks and memories of the 1972 U.S.S.R.-Canada hockey series. Eventually, they succeed in finding their dad, but that is not the book’s emotional crescendo, IMO. That transpires when shy, taciturn Alex, the one-time aspiring actor, rediscovers himself by “playing” his brother, sidelined by laryngitis just before a make-or-break corporate dog-and-pony show. But had his twin tricked him into undergoing an emotional catharsis? Alex, confrontationally: “You never lost your voice, did you?” Matt, cryptically: “I lost mine, you found yours.” Now that’s identical twin love.

One Brother Shy is a charming, affecting book with perhaps one little caveat: Fallis’s tendency to tie up all plot lines with the precision of a daytime soap. A small quibble, perhaps.

Robert Collison is a Toronto writer and editor.

Global Television appearance

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

I was lucky enough a couple weeks ago to appear on Global Television’s popular national morning show. I was a little nervous though I hope it doesn’t show. (To watch it, click on the graphic below.)