So my book club picked Up and Down by Terry Fallis, Canadian political writer. Oh my. Not my bag but the rule is we all read it for good or bad. That’s what makes it interesting.
Here’s the Amazon synopsis…….
“The author of the Stephen Leacock Medal-winning The Best Laid Plans brings his trademark humour and sharp storytelling to a new novel set in the high-stakes world of a global public relations agency. On his first day at Turner King, David Stewart quickly realizes that the world of international PR (affectionately, perhaps ironically, known as “the dark side”) is a far cry from his previous job on Parliament Hill. For one, he missed the office memo on the all-black dress code; for another, there are enough acronyms and jargon to make his head spin. Before he even has time to find the washroom, David is assigned a major project: devise a campaign to revitalize North America”s interest in the space program – maybe even show NASA”s pollsters that watching a shuttle launch is more appealing than going out for lunch with friends. The pressure is on, and before long, David finds himself suggesting the most out-of-this-world idea imaginable: a Citizen Astronaut lottery that would send one Canadian and one American to the International Space Station. Suddenly, David”s vaulted into an odyssey of his own, navigating the corporate politics of a big PR agency; wading through the murky but always hilarious waters of Canada-U.S. relations; and trying to hold on to his new job while still doing the right thing. Equal parts clever and satirical, thoughtful and affecting, Up and Down is Terry Fallis at his best, confirming his status as a Canadian literary star.”
So this is not the book I would pick for book club. I love Canadian literature but I can’t abide politics and Terry Fallis writes political fiction (The Best Laid Plans and The High Road, both best sellers).
So I borrowed the book from a friend because I was too cheap to spend the money on a book I didn’t want to read. So further to that I decided I didn’t even want to spend my valuable reading time reading it so I went in search of an audio version. I found it as a free podcast on iTunes read by Terry Fallis himself. Jackpot….in more ways than one. So I started listening to it on the way home from work one day, the sooner I started the sooner I would finish it. Little did I know I would start looking forward to my drive home just so I could listen to another chapter of this book! I love this book! I was so sad when I finished it. It is one of the funniest and most well written books I have come across in a long time. I think I will have to actually read it over the summer but I will miss Terry Fallis talking to me. His voice has a Stuart Maclean (sp?) type quality about it. He had a voice for all the characters and this really added to the book. His southern accent was hilarious and his slow western Canadian speech was right on. A little tongue in cheek but that seems to be his shtick.
Here’s the scoop on the main characters:
– David Stewart, very green PR guy who is totally in over his head but will fight for what is right. He will do anything to get Landon Perceval up in space. He is smart, honest, witty, a little bumbling, and truly human.
-Landon Perceval, (the true star of the book) 71 year old lesbian bush pilot-doctor that lives in the interior of BC on a lake that can only be reacher by plane. She is the Canadian candidate for civilIan in space. You will love her. I really wish I knew her. One of the most interesting characters I have ever read about. You get to know a lot about her back story. She is a typical unassuming Canadian with every stereotype rolled into one. Fallis is definitely poking fun at ourselves but it is certainly with brains and kindness.
-Eugene Crank, 27 year old deputy sheriff from Texas who is the US civilian in space. Do I need to say anymore? Again every stereotype rolled in to one but done with intelligence and humour. I just finishing the book while on vacation in Texas. Maybe that made it more amusing!
The characters are very well written, they are the best of all things Canadian and American. The humorous is smart, the plot interesting and unexpected, the writing is more elevated than your regular fiction. I can’t say enough about how good this book is. I particularly recommend it to Nancy Dawe, Sheilagh Murphy, and Bobbi French, I think you would love it.
Best line of the book spoken with a southern drawl…
” ….you mean to tell me there is a 71 year old lesbian flying her Beaver all across Canada?”
Just read it!!!!!