Twenty-five years after his father Gord died in a car accident, Richard gets a call from his cousin Tony, who is working on a theory that Gord's death was orchestrated by Al Forzante, Gord's former boss and a powerful union leader. With his own career and marriage sputtering, Richard is reluctant to believe Tony, inclined instead to cling to the one sure source of his own self-worth--being the son of legendary labour lawyer Gordon McKitrick. Does Richard believe Tony, pursue Forzante and risk revealing unsavory elements of his father's life? Or does he keep his mouth shut, humiliate his cousin, and allow Forzante's crime to go unpunished? A mystery plated with plenty of sides, The Higher the Monkey Climbs examines our relationships to our own pasts and how we adjust to the world as it shifts around us.
Bruce Geddes's fiction has appeared in The New Quarterly, Great Lakes Review and The Hart House Review, and he has written two books for Lonely Planet and worked as a producer for the CBC. With a MA in Latin American Literature, he's a graduate of the Humber School for Writers where he was mentored by Miriam Toews and the late Paul Quarrington. Bruce lives and works in Toronto.
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Geddes is a wonderful new talent
An incredibly enjoyable read. Very highly recommended. Geddes spins a yarn that is filled with mystery, intrigue, and unforgettable characters. Southern Ontario skids mix with Latin flair and male menopause. The book is hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud throughout. Geddes has a biting wit and an incredible eye for the nuances of human egos and relationships. You will likely see your own life in this story. I challenge you to put the book down once you've started. Pour yourself a coffee, find a nice quiet corner and dig in. Can't wait for more from this very talented writer.
The Higher the Monkey Climbs– Geddes
This novel is gripping and smart. The dialogue in particular is so well-handled: careful and astute variations of tone and register and place. The treatment of genre, too, is really cool: in some way this is classic southern Ontario gothic (think Munro, Urquhart, Atwood), but its been recast through the lens of a kind of noirish detective novel– but a detective novel with a detective who basically doesn't want to investigate, who doesn't want to know the truth, who rejects his assigned role. I guess, you might say he also rejects the role of the southern Ontario gothic, since he does everything he can to escape Windsor and its old, white, Protestant, working-class constraints for a modern, multi-cultural, internationalized, white-collar Toronto. Obviously, the protagonist fails at many of these attempted escapes. Someone else here said "richly satirical": exactly. I really liked this book.
The Higher the Monkey Climbs
Reminiscent of Richer, Geddes writes a full, natural narrative that is so believable it belies the enormous amount of research that was needed to delve so deeply into this imagined world of union power struggles, adolescent trauma and inter-generational father-son relationships. Hope to read more from this author.
The Higher the Monkey Climbs, by Bruce Geddes
In the quiet moments just before his life begins to unravel, Richard becomes absorbed in a murder mystery 25 years old that may or may not have a murder. In The Higher the Monkey Climbs, Bruce Geddes is interested in the often uncomfortable mystery of how it is we end up where we do. And the detective work necessary for the novel’s protagonist, Richard, to make such a reckoning with the past involves a variety of troubled homecomings: whether literally revisiting the site of youthful misdemeanors, or drinking his way through an uncomfortable dinner with his step-son’s birth father, the ex-number-four man of the second largest guerrilla group in Columbia, who’s looking to parlay his warfare know-how into a how-to manual for small business (and possibly reunite with Richard’s wife). Both deeply felt and richly satirical, often at the same time, The Higher the Monkey Climbs is a remarkable novel about returning to the place you thought you left behind.