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Fiction Political

The Best Laid Plans

by (author) Terry Fallis

Publisher
McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Sep 2008
Category
Political, Humorous, Satire
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780771047589
    Publish Date
    Sep 2008
    List Price
    $21.00

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Description

WINNER OF CBC CANADA READS
Here’s the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide quits just before an election--but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock--an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers--to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose, and so on.

Then a great scandal blows away his opponent, and to their horror, Angus is elected. He decides to see what good an honest M.P. who doesn’t care about being re-elected can do in Parliament. The results are hilarious--and with chess, a hovercraft, and the love of a good woman thrown in, this very funny book has something for everyone.

About the author

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

His debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade.“ In January 2014, CBC aired a six-part television miniseries based on The Best Laid Plans earning very positive reviews. In September 2015, it debuted as a stage musical in Vancouver, produced by Touchstone Theatre and Patrick Street Productions. The High Road was published in September 2010 and was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Terry’s third novel, Up and Down, was released in September 2012. It debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, and won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. Terry’s fourth novel, No Relation, hit bookstores in May 2014, opened on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, and won the 2015 Leacock Medal. M&S published Terry’s fifth novel, Poles Apart, in October 2015, opening on several bestsellers lists including the Globe and Mail’s. It was a finalist for the 2016 Leacock Medal. One Brother Shy was published in May 2017 and was an instant bestseller.

In June, 2013, the Canadian Booksellers Association presented Terry with the Libris Award for Author of the Year.

For more than 25 years, Terry has counselled corporate and government clients on various fronts including crisis communications, media relations, issues management, marketing communications, public opinion polling, public affairs, stakeholder relations, etc. He has also written speeches for CEOs, cabinet ministers, and other community leaders.

Terry is a sought-after speaker, sits on a number of boards, and lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Terry Fallis' profile page

Awards

  • Winner, Canada Reads
  • Winner, Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour

Excerpt: The Best Laid Plans (by (author) Terry Fallis)

Part One

Chapter One

After an impressive hang time, I plummeted back to the sidewalk, my fall broken by a fresh, putrid pile of excrement the size of a small ottoman. I quickly scanned the area for a hippo on the lam.

Before I quite literally found myself in deep shit, my day had actually been ripe with promise. I’m a big believer in signs. After six straight days of rain, I believed the sun burning a hole in the cloudless, cobalt sky was a sign — a good one. It somehow lightened the load I’d been lugging around in my mind for the previous six weeks. I lifted my face to the warmth and squinted as I walked along the edge of Riverfront Park. Even though it was a Monday morning, I hummed a happy little tune. Maybe, just maybe, things were looking up. Unfortunately, so was I.

My foot made a soft landing on the sidewalk and shot forward all on its own, leaving a brown, viscous streak in its wake. Congenitally clumsy, I was well into the splits before I managed to drag my trailing leg forward and slip the surly bonds of earth. Airborne, I surveyed the terrain below and, with all the athletic prowess of a quadriplegic walrus, returned safely to earth, touching down on the aforementioned crap cushion.

Just after I landed, I counted roughly twenty witnesses, who stared slack-jawed before many of them split their sides. Fortunately, only a handful of them had video cameras. I expect you can still find me on klutzklips.com. Everyone seemed quite amused by the prominent sign planted three feet to my left: keep cumberland clean. please stoop and scoop. The owners of whatever behemoth produced this Guinness-book offering would have needed a Hefty bag and a snow shovel.

And what an unholy aroma. I’ve always believed that English is better equipped than any other language to capture the richness and diversity of our daily lives. I promise you, the Oxford Concise does not yet have words to describe the stench that rose like a mushroom cloud from that colossal mound. Stepping in it was one thing; full immersion was quite another.

Bright sun in a clear blue sky — good sign. Russian split jump into a gigantic dog turd — not a good sign. Good form, good air, but not a good sign.

An hour and a shower later, I retraced my steps, eyes fixed on the pavement, ignoring the two township workers in hazmat suits at the scene of my fall. I quickened my pace, pumping myself up for the important encounter ahead. After nearly six weeks of intensive searching, I was down to my last seven days. I’d tried flattery, threats, cajolery, blackmail, and bribery, but had come up empty and bone-dry — nothing.

In the first two weeks after my arrival in Cumberland, I’d spoken to the mayor and every town councilor, including the lone Liberal, as well as the head of the chamber of commerce. No dice. In week three, I had pleaded with prominent business leaders, local doctors and lawyers, the head of the four-bus transit authority, and the high-school principal. They’re all still laughing. In fact, one of them needed two sick days to rest a pulled stomach muscle. Last week, I had bought drinks for the local crossing guard, baked cookies for the chief instructor at the Prescott Driving School, and shared inane banter with the golf pro at the Cumberland Mini-Putt. No luck, although the crossing guard at least listened to half my spiel before holding up her stop sign.

I like to think that one of my few strengths is a keen sense of when I’m doomed. None of this “the glass is half full” stuff for me. I know when I’m in deep. So I gave up and returned to the no-hope option I’d rejected at the outset as cruel and unusual punishment. But what else could I do? I had splinters from scraping the bottom of the barrel.

The Riverfront Seniors’ Residence loomed on my left just beyond the park. Built in 1952, it had that utterly forgettable but, I suppose, practical architecture of that era — early Canadian ugly. Two wings of rooms extended along the riverbank on either side of a central lobby. Everything looked painfully rectangular. The only architectural grace note, just adjacent to the dining room, was a curved wall of windows, overlooking the Ottawa River. For the residents, the panorama provided a welcome distraction from the steam-table cuisine.

The lounge next to the dining room was populated with 30-year-old couches and chairs, sporting strangely hued upholstery from the “shades of internal organs” collection, accessorized by protective plastic slip covers. I saw a couple of dozen or so residents camped out in the lounge. Some were reading. Others were locked in debate over what vegetables would accompany the pot roast that night. A few simply gazed at nothing at all with a forlorn and vacant look. The scent of air freshener hung heavy, only just subduing that other odor sadly common to many seniors’ residences. I loitered in the lobby, surveying the scene and deciding on my approach. Evidently, I was too slow.

A grizzled, old man in a peach safari suit and a lavender, egg-encrusted tie looked me up and down a few times, wrestling with his memory. Finally, recognition dawned on his withered face. “Hey, it’s the doggy doo-doo diving champ!” he shouted. I glanced at the aging alliteration aficionado before taking in the rest of the room. All eyes turned to me. I saw heads nodding and smiles breaking. A wheelchair-ridden centenarian gave me a thumbs-up. I heard a smattering of applause that slowly gathered strength and culminated some time later in an osteoporotic, stooping ovation. I felt compelled to take a bow. When the commotion abated, the guy in the peach safari suit approached.

“I gotta tell you that was some performance this morning. After that horse of a dog dropped his load in the middle of the sidewalk, we were all gathered by the window there, waiting for some poor sap to step in it. We even had a pool going.”

Editorial Reviews

WINNER OF THE STEPHEN LEACOCK MEDAL FOR HUMOUR
WINNER OF CBC CANADA READS

“Amusing, enlightening--and Canadian, and it deftly explores the Machiavellian machinations of Ottawa’s political culture.” The Globe and Mail
“This is a funny book that could only have been written by someone with firsthand knowledge of politics in Canada, including its occasionally absurd side. This is a great read for anyone thinking of running for office, and especially reassuring for those who have decided not to.”  The Hon. Allan Rock, former Justice Minister and Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations

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