Monday, January 24, 2011

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
Published:  2007 by McLelland & Stewart
Source:  Purchased (the Canadian edition, eh?)

  I'm a Canadian girl, and my one complaint about Canadian literature is that most of it is frankly quite depressing and bleak.  Granted, I enjoy reading depressing and bleak, but I wish there were more books available that were well written and that provided a laugh or two (or even a few smiles).  The Best Laid Plans is a great start.

  Daniel Addison has been a political aide in the Liberal Party but after a personal shock, he decides to leave Ottawa and head into academia at a university just outside of the capital.  Canada is just about ready for an election, so the Party asks him to find a Liberal candidate in the university's riding.  Said candidate would be running in an overwhelmingly Tory riding against the incumbent Member of Parliament Tory Finance Minister Eric Cameron; who is extremely popular around the country.

   Daniel finds his sacrificial lamb --  his landlord, Angus McLintock, who is also an engineering professor at the university -- who after some negotiation agrees to have his name on the ballot with the understanding that he has no chance of winning.  But of course, things happen..... 

   I wasn't sure if non-Canadians would appreciate/understand the political discourse in the novel, but after reading it I think that its description of politics is pretty universal.  And that is only one part of the story; there is romance, adventure (trust me, it's there!) and a very quirky cast of characters that make it all work.   And it's funny -- again I don't know if you need to be Canadian to get some the jokes but I've been out of the country for 11 years and I still found myself laughing out loud.

  It's only January, but The Best Laid Plans is already on my favorite reads of 2011 list.  Highly recommended.

  And it counts toward my progress in The Canadian Book Challenge 4 !


  1. Looks like a great reading. Regarding Canadian literature, I love Margaret Atwood and she is not bleak at all! I find her prose quite strong, powerful and inspiring. Her latest novel, "The Year of the Flood" seems to be pretty interesting and funny (just look at the cover!).


  2. Ah, a new Canadian book! Nice find :) I love CanLit, too. Not sure about the bleakness factor but Atwood, Laurence, Montgomery, Richler...some of the best writers ever!

  3. booksandreviews -- I love Margaret Atwood, but I find her writing bleak (however when she speaks she is incredibly witty). The Year of the Flood was probably my least favorite of her novels and I did not find it funny at all.

    Teacher/Learner -- Mordecai Richler is one of my faves as well, I know he's supposed to be witty but again I just don't get it.

    By the way, Terry Fallis tweeted a thank you for my review and mentioned that there is a sequel to this book titled THE HIGH ROAD which I cannot wait to read.

  4. I hadn't heard of this book before, but your description makes it sound rather interesting. I have this idea in my head that it might be a little like Primary Colors, which I enjoyed immensely. I am going to have to take a closer look at this one.

  5. This is a great book. It won the 2008 Leacock Medal for humour. So, if you are looking for some lighthearted Canlit, check out other titles on the winners list. There is some very funny books on the list. Fallis’ book was also only picked up by McLelland & Stewart after he self-published it and won the Leacock Medal. Great news that there will be a sequel. I will be looking forward to that.


What do you think? Good or bad, I'd love to hear from you (but be nice - I'm sensitive!)