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4 of 5
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list price: $18.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
category: Fiction
published: June 2012
ISBN:9781770891043

The Antagonist

by Lynn Coady

reviews: 1
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literary, coming of age
4 of 5
2 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $18.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
category: Fiction
published: June 2012
ISBN:9781770891043
Description

Winner of the 2012 Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and shortlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

A finalist for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize, and named one of the best books of the year by Amazon, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star, The Antagonist tells the story of Gordon Rankin ("Rank"), a former hockey enforcer driven to seek revenge on a old friend who has published a novel revealing Rank's deepest secret.

The hulking Gordon Rankin has spent his life cast as an enforcer, a goon — by his classmates, his coaches, and especially his own father, Gordon Senior, an unfortunate victim of small man syndrome. Rank duly accepts his role and spends the majority of his high school and university years implementing the violent commands of others. Until one day tragedy strikes, with only Rank to blame. With nobody to turn to, he disappears.

But almost twenty years later Rank discovers that an old, trusted friend — the only person to whom he has ever confessed his sins — has published a novel mirroring Rank's life. The betrayal cuts to the deepest core of him, and forces Rank to confront the tragic true story from which he's spent his whole life running. A diatribe, a prayer, an ode to what it means to be a man, Rank's painful, suspenseful, and often hilarious journey grabs us by the throat and the heart and never lets us go. This is Rank's turn to finally set the record straight.

About the Author
Lynn Coady's Strange Heaven was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and won the Dartmouth Book Award and the Atlantic Booksellers' Choice Award. She has since written three books of fiction, Play the Monster Blind, Saints of Big Harbour, and Mean Boy, all national bestsellers. Her work has appeared in Saturday Night, This Magazine, and Chatelaine. She also writes a column on relationships for the Globe and Mail.
Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

LYNN COADY is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of six books, including Hellgoing, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and was an Amazon.ca and Globe and Mail Best Book. She is also the author of The Antagonist, winner of the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first novel, Strange Heaven, published when she was just twenty-eight, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Her books have been published in the U.K., U.S., Holland, France, and Germany. Coady lives in Toronto and writes for television.

Awards
  • Commended, Washington Post Top 100 Noteable Books
  • Winner, Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
  • Commended, Globe and Mail Top 100 Book
  • Short-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize
  • Commended, Amazon.ca Best Books: Editors' Pick
  • Commended, Toronto Star Reviewers' Top 100 Books
  • Commended, Amazon.ca Best Books: Canadian Fiction
Editorial Reviews

...sharp and very funny...the pathos and humor brought to a challenging life story will appeal to many readers.

— Publishers Weekly

Smartly tuned and as unsettling as it intends to be...Coady expertly renders a man who's compelled to address his past but not entirely ready to look in the mirror [and her novel] is a caution to tread carefully.

— Kirkus

. . . a readable, quixotic coming-of-age story, a comedy of very bad manners, and a thoughtful inquiry into the very nature of self. It’s the sort of novel -- and Coady the sort of writer -- deserving of every accolade coming to it.

— National Post

Sentence for sentence, Lynn Coady is one of the most dynamic prose stylists in Canadian letters.

— Walrus

Unhinged at times, cathartic, lyrical and brave ... the reader must simply sit back and enjoy.

— Rabble

In this coming-of-age tale, male friendships and relationships are explored in all their goofiness and complexity . . . [Lynn Coady is] one of Canada's best writers of fiction.

— Winnipeg Free Press

A genuinely fascinating character [whose] emails evolve from clumsy rages to thoughtful, measured ruminations on crucial events in his life...But it is Coady’s ability to realistically portray his teens and university years and empathetically conduct his search for self that makes The Antagonist more than just entertainment.

— Booklist

Only a writer as wonderfully gifted as Lynn Coady could elicit such extraordinary sympathy for a character as full of self-destructive rage as Rank, her main character. You won't soon forget either him or this haunting novel.

— Richard Russo

A deft blend of farce, tragedy and wry social comment, The Antagonist is no mean feat.

— Toronto Star

. . . far more complex than the hilarious one-liners that make her work so irresistible to read.

— Edmonton Journal

[Lynn Coady] is entering old-pro territory ...

— Malahat Review

The Antagonist could have not have come at a better time. In our fast, media-saturated world, this novel gives the reader the refreshing and increasingly rare opportunity to take a closer, more compassionate look at someone wrongly judged by his outer shell.

— Rover Arts

The Antagonist is a crafty, technically-accomplished series of meditations on subjects ranging from manhood and self-knowledge to tricky father-son relationships.

— Vancouver Sun

...[a] clever and sympathetic exploration of male friendship.

— Washington Post

... a stunning new novel. Coady's writing is witty and sensitive... this is a fantastic book that shouldn't be missed.

— Daily Beast/Newsweek

... thoroughly engrossing ... a breathless and frequently hilarious narrative ... one of the freshest voices in years.

— FASHION Magazine

. . . by turns angry, funny, tender and sad . . . The Antagonist is a full-bodied work of fiction.

— Globe and Mail

... [a] strong new comic novel.

— Winnipeg Review

[Lynn Coady] has a hearty wit and a piercing understanding of human nature . . . [she] has made herself one of our essential writers.

— Quill and Quire

. . . a richly comic creation . . . a revealing effort in cross-gender empathy.

— Montreal Gazette

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Reader Reviews

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Melanie Kindrachuk
Librarian review

The Antagonist

I thought I might dislike this one but gave it a try as it is by Lynn Coady, after all. Thank goodness I did -- it's one of the best reads of my year so far.

Told in epistolary format -- a long series of emails from protagonist Rank to his antagonist, a former university friend -- it succeeds admirably. Revealing himself both by what he includes and leaves out of his emails, Rank becomes a character who demands sympathy and understanding.

It was really one of those reads that takes you over and forces you to live in its world until you finish the story (and even for a while afterwards...) I don't read a lot of "manly" books but this one was fabulous.

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