The Best Laid Plans: A Novel

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The Best Laid Plans: A Novel

by Terry Fallis

Indigo PremierPlus | August 22, 2007 | Trade Paperback

The Best Laid Plans: A Novel is rated 4.8333 out of 5 by 6.
Thirty-something Daniel Addison is jaded and burned out from his Parliament Hill job as a speech writer for the Liberal Leader of the Opposition. After a messy breakup with his girlfriend, Daniel is eager to escape the duplicitous world of Canadian politics, so he accepts a faculty position with the University of Ottawa's English Department. He soon moves into a boathouse apartment in nearby Cumberland owned by Angus McLintock, a cranky engineering professor in his sixties who is mourning the recent loss of his wife.
Both Angus and Daniel intend to retreat from the world for a while, but fate won't have it. Angus is desperate to avoid teaching English to first-year engineering students yet again. Daniel, as penance for abandoning his party on the eve of an election, must find a Liberal candidate to run in ultra-Conservative Cumberland. In an unlikely alliance, Angus consents to stand as the in-name-only, certain-to-lose Liberal candidate, and Daniel agrees to take Angus's English class.
Everything is going according to plan until the voters are suddenly forced to take a closer look at Angus, throwing his certain defeat into doubt. Scrambling to deal with this unexpected development, Angus and Daniel land in the middle of a hilarious political maelstrom that tests not only their friendship but their beliefs in government and democracy.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 270 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.61 in

Published: August 22, 2007

Publisher: Indigo PremierPlus

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 059542872X

ISBN - 13: 9780595428724

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it - Laughed and Laughed I simply loved this book. It won the Stephen Leacock Award for humor and that worried me - for some reason I often don't find "funny" books very funny. I can't recommend this one highly enough. Daniel works as a speechwriter for the Leader of the Opposition on Parliament Hill. He is slowly changing from an idealist to a cynic. Then he finds his girlfriend in a compromising position with a certain politiican. That is enough for him to pack up and head to the University of Ottawa to teach. But they have one last request - find someone to run for the Liberals in the strongest Tory riding in the country. He says yes. And then every single person in the riding says no to him. Until he meets his landlord - Angus McLintock an engineering professor with a love of hovercrafts and a hatred of teaching English to first year engineers. Daniel offers a switch - he'll teach the class if Angus agrees to run. Angus agrees as long as Daniel promises he'll lose. They have a deal. No budget, no headquarters and only 2 volunteers - Pete1 and Pete2 (heavily pierced, mohawked and tattooed engineering students). A loss seems guaranteed. Or does it? If you ever watched the West Wing you'll love seeing the behind the scenes political maneouvering on the Canadian side of the border. It was totally laugh out loud for me.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am satisfied I chose Best Laid Plans wishing to learn more about Canadian politics and its government; I am glad to have made this decision, as this book turns out to be a gem of fun and inspiration. Fallis has a way with his ironic voice, putting a sarcastic tone on the most common observations making you laugh at the humour of human ridicule. I am inspired by the vision of an honest, honourable, thoughtful and humble politician (hopefully, one day in plural); an image that could be a beacon in clearing the bad names of national politics. It is thought-provoking to see the brutal portrayal of politicians doing what is popular in public opinion rather than what is of benefit to the country or the world, in parallel to regular folks doing what they don’t believe in simply for the sake of keeping their jobs and the good name among their peers. I believe, when anyone of us set out to achieve our aspirations, we had our dreams of mission and professionalism. It is true that compromises are unavoidable along the way; but if we have to sacrifice our core values and integrity just to keep the job and the monetary benefits, it’s about time to see the reality - what we’re doing is not the exact same thing that we started out doing anyway. Then what are we doing? I truly enjoyed this novel by Terry Fallis. To be honest, I was somewhat deterred by the long winded narratives in the beginning chapters. But if you hold out until chapter three or so, Fallis all of a sudden found his element and there begins a totally different book that tells an amazing story. (Maybe the author and the editor should ponder on this?) Overall, this is a book that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you think, and through all of this learn a thing or two about Canadian politics. Not bad at all. I am satisfied.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It seemed I was working for a saint: A reivew of The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis This is a book about hovercrafts. You’ll also find an entertaining story about Daniel Addison, a cynic/idealist who quit his job on Parliament Hill after a harrowing encounter with a rubber plant and an unexpected debriefing. As a means of breaking with his past, Addison finds a job with the University of Ottawa’s English Department and in the process of moving into a rental boathouse meets Angus McLintock, an engineering professor whose wife recently died. Angus is building the hovercraft in his workroom. Details about the author can be found at www.terryfallis.com so I won’t go into them here. The novel is written in readable and generous style. For example, p. 17 “Well, I don’t think you’re here to ask me on a date.” I paused, unsure of how to play it out. Concern clouded her face. “Oh, please, tell me you’re not here to ask me out,” she blurted, mortified. “I’m not here to ask you on a date,” I conceded. However, my predilection for minimalist writing often caused me to rail against the wordiness of the text in many places. The above, for example, could have been written like this, preserving all the dialogue but letting the reader imagine the mortification: “Well, I don’t think you’re here to ask me on a date.” I said nothing. “Oh, please, tell me you’re not here to ask me out.” “I’m not here to ask you on a date.” At times I wish Fallis had left more to the imagination rather than guiding the reader through the narrative. This is probably more of a personal preference than a critique though. The politics are a bit blunt. Angus McLintock is a kind of mythological character - gruff, honest, witty, and smart . . . almost like Rousseau’s noble savage with a doctorate in engineering. His perspective on the relation between civic life and politics is true to a certain idealism within liberal political philosophy. For example, whereas the social conservative demands repentance and forgiveness, the liberal looks for reciprocity and understanding. McLintock also makes a passionate case for national interest before personal interest – since the national interest is, after all, our collective interest (ideally, without subordinating one to the other). Where the politics are a bit less obvious but effective is in his very deliberate move to incorporate gender and gender issues. Several of the characters in the novel are feminists, including Addison and McLintock's sympathies. The novel contains a realistic balance between male and female characters and if it doesn’t completely avoid stereotypes at least uses more than half a dozen rather than one or two (the vixen, the intelligent and beautiful graduate student, the warhorse, the gifted inventor, the wise elder, etc.). A pro-feminist sympathy is simply rendered as part of the texture of the novel and, in contrast to the misogyny of so many classical texts or the hollowness of “chic lit,” is a welcome change of scenery. The Canadian "left" doesn't really make an appearance, which is too bad . . . the introduction of a discussion of "class" with regard to personal and national interest might have been interesting. As the novel unfolds we find that McLintock is the reluctant servant, the brilliant everyman, the benevolent yet mildly naïve do-gooder. Addison is the disenchanted flak catcher who must be brought back into the fullness of civic political life. I found the rustic image of McLintock a cliché but this is complicated by some rather revealing and personal journal entries written to his recently deceased wife. The majesty of McLintock is certainly undeniable. In many respects this is a coming-of-age story, a novel about rejuvination and inspiration. All in all this is a very nicely crafted feel-good story about provincial politics and the Ottawa River.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One wonders how anyone could keep from laughing. While I am not usually a fervent consumer of Canadian authors, I have recently delved into both the serious and humorous sides of Canadian literature. I have found within "The Best Laid Plans" a refreshingly unique manner (Murphy's law meets the u-catastrophe) for writing a character driven novel. I must shamefully admit that this fictional novel brought me far closer to Canadian politics than I have been for a number of years. Granted, the world of politics is far more entertaining with an iritable Scotsman, a fiery octogenarian, two conformist punks, and a desperate Daniel trying to escape the clutches of Canadian politics. One wonders how anyone could keep from laughing.
Date published: 2008-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instant Classic As someone who has worked in the wierd world of politics I loved this book - its real, real funny and closer to the "way things work" than even some non-fiction Ottawa books can take you. All with outstanding humour and a pace that makes me only hope there is a sequel in the offing. Move over Ian Rankin. There is a Canadian political series equivalent in the making - I hope. A great read, funny and certainly could not put this one down. Who is this Terry Fallis? I think we'll be hearing a lot more of him.
Date published: 2007-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific First Novel! When I first picked up Terry Fallis' novel which is described on the cover as a "satirical novel of Canadian politics" I wasn't expecting it to be very compelling -- I'm not much into politics, after all. But this novel was compelling from the first word. I was immediately hooked by narrator Daniel Addison and his departure from the Canadian political scene to teach English to Engineers at Ottawa University. I particularly enjoyed the hilarious and uniquely creative description of walking in on his girlfriend and a cabinet minister and describing their tryst in "parliamentary language." Rick Mercer couldn't have done a better job of setting up the laughs from this scene. But once Fallis introduced stodgy old engineering professor Angus McLintock I was double-hooked. Watching this unlikely Liberal candidate's rise to power marks one of the best books I've read this year. The main plot and sub-stories wind perfectly together providing a wonderfully balanced and thoroughly enjoyable tale. While I actually did laugh out loud several times reading this satirical novel, I was also moved and touched by the characters who live long after I have turned the final page of the book.
Date published: 2007-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best book I have read this year, well done Terry Fallis I had never heard of this author before three days ago nor had I heard of this title but I couldn't put it down. This book is truly Canadian and as it happens I will be going to Ottawa to receive an award on Parliament Hill with plans to visit many of the site mentioned. The story line is compelling and a real page turner. I'm going to buy his follow up novel as soon as I can. Yes, it was that good. Without any hesitation this is my favourite read this year ( I read every day) and will highly reccomend it to friends and family. I'm off to buy another Terry Fallis book called "The High Road" I doubt it could be as good but he certainly deserves another go at it, thank you for making my day with a great and wonderful reading experience.
Date published: 2012-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very witty I was not looking forward to reading about Canadian politics for our September book club pick - fiction or non-fiction. So I was very pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoyed Mr. Fallis' writing style and the story line. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can see why he won the award. Great read!
Date published: 2012-08-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very pleasantly surprised 3.75 stars Daniel has left his job working for the Liberal Leader in the House of Commons, but has promised to find someone to run in the next election for the Liberal Party in the Cumberland-Prescott riding, where the PC candidate has served for years and is loved by all. The PCs have this riding locked up. So, after a lot of searching, Daniel convinces Angus McLintock, an engineering professor, who has absolutely no desire to be a politician, to simply put his name on the ballot for the Liberals. However, things don't quite go as planned... I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I'm not a big fan of politics, or especially reading about it, but this is funny and entertaining. I couldn't quite give it a full 4 stars because in the first half of the book, there was an occasional slow patch, but the second half really picked up. Angus is a great character and I loved the "antipolitician" that he was. Not caring what people thought of him, he said and did what he thought was right. There were some great secondary characters in this book, as well.
Date published: 2012-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't wait for the movie... This book was a fabulous read. I loved the characters and I loved the story. It was funny, well written with a great usage of the English language, very visual, and an all around great read. This was surprising to me because the premise of the book didn't capture my interest - but it was the November's selection for my bookclub and I was reading ahead. Wow - for once I loved the book someone chose for the club. I think this book would make a fabulous movie and wish someone would be astute enough to pick up the rights to the book. I would be first in line to see it.
Date published: 2011-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A really good read The characters are people I wouldn't mind knowing myself and the story is funny and engaging. A good read even if you're not that into politics. (But if you are, it's informative and thought provoking in an amusing way. I think you'd enjoy this book even if you're not Canadian, but especially so if you are. And doubly so if you're from the Ottawa area.)
Date published: 2011-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for any "reference" junkie to bet back into fiction! I very rarely read fiction, I tend to hide in the political science/history/reference sections of Chapters. I received this book from a family member who believed this would be THE book to get me into fiction - and they were right! Now when I visit Chapters I take a copy of this book from the Fiction section and place it on the shelves of "Canadian Political Science" in hopes that someone, like me, may read it (sorry Chapters staff!) This book is witty, humors and a "must have" for anyone of the Liberal persuasion. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to any political junkie or "ideological policy wonk" that is looking to get into fiction.
Date published: 2011-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful book This is the best book I have read in ages. It is a 'must read' for anyone old enough to vote. It certainly proves the point that the more humourous the subject, the closer it is to the truth. I cannot wait to read the High Road.
Date published: 2011-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it Every Canadian should have read this before May 2, but anyone can enjoy it anytime. It was one of those books that made me slow down at 25 pages before the end, not wanting to leave the people behind. If only we had an Angus McClintock in Ottawa! I laughed, I cried, I sank into deep thought and then I laughed some more. Great book. Looking forward to the Further Adventures of....
Date published: 2011-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Smart and Funny I would not consider myself an avid reader, but when I do read the book has to grab me and usually this comes from the pace of writing and the vocabulary. Terry Fallis captured me in the first few pages, and I rarely laugh out loud when reading, but I did so on many occasions. I love Canadian literature as it is home to me and I can easily lose myself in the places and situations - this book did that too. If you love reading a book which challenges your vocabulary, have an interest in politics and Canadiana this is a great read. Some were so funny I read out loud to family and friends and we all laughed so hard we cried. Not many books do that accept another great Canadian humourist, Stuart McLean.
Date published: 2011-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I finished reading this the day Harper's Tory government fell. As we go into an election campaign I only wish I had a candidate like Angus McLintock! This book is a delicious commentary on Parliament Hill as it is, and as it could be.
Date published: 2011-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining AND Informative! As an 'ideological policy wonk' (Fallis' term, but it just fits so nicely!) I loved loved loved this book. If readers have never taken part in an election campaign or ever watched televised House of Commons proceedings, they're going to learn a bit, while giggling themselves silly. The scene where the MP is trying to call the PM a liar without saying the word "liar" is by far the most hilarious bit I've read in ages. And as an amateur grammar freak, I liked the bits about that too. Its like Fallis was inside my mind, knowing what things make me laugh.
Date published: 2011-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best Book about Politics I've ever Read Daniel Addison has one thing left to do before is done with politics; he needs to find a candidate to run in the Tory stronghold of Cumberland-Prescott. Even though there is essentially no chance of a liberal candidate winning he is finding no one willing to take up the challenge. After speaking with every possible contender he turns to his landlord, Engineering Professor Angus McLintock. With essentially no fund, no campaign workers and no committed party representative, Daniel somehow has to run a very convincing campaign against the extremely popular Conservative incumbent. I want to tell you more, but even one more word will start to give away plot developments and I don't want to deprive you of the fun of reading about them. I wasn't too sure about reading a book about politics, but I was assured that it was funny. Well, politics is funny all on its own, if you don't believe me, get a bowl of popcorn and turn on the house of commons channel one day and start watching. I was hooked in the first pages. From back room dealings, sexual escapades, campaigning to lose, this book has it all and more, lots more. There were times I was laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my cheeks. My family thought I had lost it for sure. One section kept me laughing page after page. I could image the press reporting on "that story" and not letting it go. Oh yes, Canadian politics rocks. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes politics, for anyone who doesn't like politics, even those who are indifferent will be amused. The Best Laid Plans is not limited to Canadian readers only, readers in any country will enjoy the antics portrayed within its covers.
Date published: 2010-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the best book I bought in 2008. I also bought several other copies to send to my friends. I haven't done this with any other book. So read the blurb and give yourself a treat, and buy this book.
Date published: 2009-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Canada Needs Angus McLintock for Prime Minister This is a funny, fast-paced romp that begins and ends on Parliament Hill. It accomplishes the improbable, marrying humour and the rules and procedures that determine how things get done in Ottawa. The main characters are intelligent, honourable and loveable, and in current context, we can only wish they would spring off the page in defence of Canada's democracy.
Date published: 2008-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Perfect Novel The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis, is, in my opinion, a perfect novel, deserving of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and of every accolade it receives. If you haven't yet read it you must, right now, rush out and purchase your very own copy; no, don't borrow one, buy your own because it will be a mainstay on your bookshelf for years to come. Now, it's best to understand it's not easy to make me laugh, and I'm also a very critical reader; despite that Terry had me laughing myself silly with the opening scene, to the point I couldn't speak and still break into spontaneous giggles when I think about it. And while that side-splitting humour toned down through the novel into a voice of wit and delightful absurdities, it remained an engaging read that produced explosions of giggles throughout. Terry's characters are endearing, real, deftly crafted, his plot tight and seamless, the ending the perfect bow on the perfect package. I'll never again think of Parliament Hill in quite the same manner. Well done, Terry! Bravo!
Date published: 2008-10-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wonderful Story! This is a wonderful story. I enjoyed the characters and how they evolved over time. I enjoyed the various different side stories... and I very definitely enjoyed the "Diaries of Angus McLintock" that ended each chapter once the book got beyond the initial chapters. At the end of the day, no matter what our political system or country I think we all would love to have a few more politicians out there with the character and principles of Angus McLintock! Now we just have to wait to see what might come next for Angus, Daniel and friends.
Date published: 2008-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A funny Canadian novel! This is a very funny book that gives us a satirical peek inside the Canadian political system. After reading the book, it is no wonder to me why it won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. The author's excellent characterizations and insider details of the internal machinations of parliament bring the narrative to life. The diary entries at the end of each chapter were effectively employed to reflect on the plot points that had ocurred before moving on the to next chapter, and I thought this device was well employed here. I thought about trying to explain the plot here, but I am afraid to give too much of the story away. I will point out something else: I think the story behind this novel (being self-published after many rejections, then winning the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and now finally being published by M&S) is an inspiration to those authors who have struggled to write and publish about Canadian themes: that there is an interest in good writing even in our smaller market, and there is hope after getting rejection after rejection. I read this book in a few short days and I found it hard to put the book down. My only regret is that the book actually has an end. I sincerely hope that the author will write again about these characters, as I found them to be quite compelling. I heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for a truly laugh-out-loud Canadian novel.
Date published: 2008-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Here's a book that deserves a sequel I read Terry Fallis' Best Laid Plans in the original self-published edition. And it left me with a smile at every sitting, from beginning to end. Terry's protagonist is the noble idealist that we all wish actually would populate the halls of power. Come to think of it, as a long time friend of Terry, there was a lot of Terry in his hero. Terry for PM? Terry has written about something he knows well. As a one time political aide, he writes about the political machinations with an insiders eye. And he brings out the humour and fun for us all to share. The only problem with the book? It ended. So, time for Terry to write a sequel. Maybe our hero should find himself in the Canadian Embassy in Washington as a representtive of the newly elected government? The Best Laid Plans. A great, entertaining read.
Date published: 2008-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Anti-politician This is a satirical look at political life in Ottawa. It was very funny. It's refreshing to see how two people who weren't even interested in being a part of the political machine, rose to the challenge. Here's a funny quote: "You are the lab rat in what could be a classic experiment in Canadian democracy...Perhaps for the first time in Canadian history the voters have elected a Member of Parliament whose singular commitment is to the public interest, not his own, and the political consequences be damned. You cannot be bought, you have no desire for re-election, you have no interest in higher office, and you don't care what people think of you. You actually do what you say. You are the mirror opposite of what Canadians have come to expect of politicians. You are the anti-politician. In fact, my rudimentary understanding of physics suggests that if you were to collide head-on with a traditional politician, you might cancel one another out and both disappear in a puff of smoke." Who said Canadian politics wasn't interesting?
Date published: 2008-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Novel! When I first picked up Terry Fallis' novel which is described on the cover as a "satirical novel of Canadian politics" I wasn't expecting it to be very compelling -- I'm not much into politics, after all. But this novel was compelling from the first word. I was immediately hooked by narrator Daniel Addison and his departure from the Canadian political scene to teach English to Engineers at Ottawa University. I particularly enjoyed the hilarious and uniquely creative description of walking in on his girlfriend and a cabinet minister and describing their tryst in "parliamentary language." Rick Mercer couldn't have done a better job of setting up the laughs from this scene. But once Fallis introduced stodgy old engineering professor Angus McLintock I was double-hooked. Following this unlikely Liberal candidate's rise to power marks one of the best books I've read this year. The main plot and sub-stories wind perfectly together providing a wonderfully balanced and thoroughly enjoyable tale. While I actually did laugh out loud several times reading this satirical novel, I was also moved and touched by the characters who live long after I have turned the final page of the book.
Date published: 2008-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious Political Insider Novel I simply loved this book. It won the Stephen Leacock Award for humor and that worried me - for some reason I often don't find "funny" books very funny. I can't recommend this one highly enough. Daniel works as a speechwriter for the Leader of the Opposition on Parliament Hill. He is slowly changing from an idealist to a cynic. Then he finds his girlfriend in a compromising position with a certain politiican. That is enough for him to pack up and head to the University of Ottawa to teach. But they have one last request - find someone to run for the Liberals in the strongest Tory riding in the country. He says yes. And then every single person in the riding says no to him. Until he meets his landlord - Angus McLintock an engineering professor with a love of hovercrafts and a hatred of teaching English to first year engineers. Daniel offers a switch - he'll teach the class if Angus agrees to run. Angus agrees as long as Daniel promises he'll lose. They have a deal. No budget, no headquarters and only 2 volunteers - Pete1 and Pete2 (heavily pierced, mohawked and tattooed engineering students). A loss seems guaranteed. Or does it? If you ever watched the West Wing you'll love seeing the behind the scenes political maneouvering on the Canadian side of the border. It was totally laugh out loud for me.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it - Laughed and Laughed I simply loved this book. It won the Stephen Leacock Award for humor and that worried me - for some reason I often don't find "funny" books very funny. I can't recommend this one highly enough. Daniel works as a speechwriter for the Leader of the Opposition on Parliament Hill. He is slowly changing from an idealist to a cynic. Then he finds his girlfriend in a compromising position with a certain politiican. That is enough for him to pack up and head to the University of Ottawa to teach. But they have one last request - find someone to run for the Liberals in the strongest Tory riding in the country. He says yes. And then every single person in the riding says no to him. Until he meets his landlord - Angus McLintock an engineering professor with a love of hovercrafts and a hatred of teaching English to first year engineers. Daniel offers a switch - he'll teach the class if Angus agrees to run. Angus agrees as long as Daniel promises he'll lose. They have a deal. No budget, no headquarters and only 2 volunteers - Pete1 and Pete2 (heavily pierced, mohawked and tattooed engineering students). A loss seems guaranteed. Or does it? If you ever watched the West Wing you'll love seeing the behind the scenes political maneouvering on the Canadian side of the border. It was totally laugh out loud for me.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am satisfied I chose Best Laid Plans wishing to learn more about Canadian politics and its government; I am glad to have made this decision, as this book turns out to be a gem of fun and inspiration. Fallis has a way with his ironic voice, putting a sarcastic tone on the most common observations making you laugh at the humour of human ridicule. I am inspired by the vision of an honest, honourable, thoughtful and humble politician (hopefully, one day in plural); an image that could be a beacon in clearing the bad names of national politics. It is thought-provoking to see the brutal portrayal of politicians doing what is popular in public opinion rather than what is of benefit to the country or the world, in parallel to regular folks doing what they don’t believe in simply for the sake of keeping their jobs and the good name among their peers. I believe, when anyone of us set out to achieve our aspirations, we had our dreams of mission and professionalism. It is true that compromises are unavoidable along the way; but if we have to sacrifice our core values and integrity just to keep the job and the monetary benefits, it’s about time to see the reality - what we’re doing is not the exact same thing that we started out doing anyway. Then what are we doing? I truly enjoyed this novel by Terry Fallis. To be honest, I was somewhat deterred by the long winded narratives in the beginning chapters. But if you hold out until chapter three or so, Fallis all of a sudden found his element and there begins a totally different book that tells an amazing story. (Maybe the author and the editor should ponder on this?) Overall, this is a book that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you think, and through all of this learn a thing or two about Canadian politics. Not bad at all. I am satisfied.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It seemed I was working for a saint: A reivew of The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis This is a book about hovercrafts. You’ll also find an entertaining story about Daniel Addison, a cynic/idealist who quit his job on Parliament Hill after a harrowing encounter with a rubber plant and an unexpected debriefing. As a means of breaking with his past, Addison finds a job with the University of Ottawa’s English Department and in the process of moving into a rental boathouse meets Angus McLintock, an engineering professor whose wife recently died. Angus is building the hovercraft in his workroom. Details about the author can be found at www.terryfallis.com so I won’t go into them here. The novel is written in readable and generous style. For example, p. 17 “Well, I don’t think you’re here to ask me on a date.” I paused, unsure of how to play it out. Concern clouded her face. “Oh, please, tell me you’re not here to ask me out,” she blurted, mortified. “I’m not here to ask you on a date,” I conceded. However, my predilection for minimalist writing often caused me to rail against the wordiness of the text in many places. The above, for example, could have been written like this, preserving all the dialogue but letting the reader imagine the mortification: “Well, I don’t think you’re here to ask me on a date.” I said nothing. “Oh, please, tell me you’re not here to ask me out.” “I’m not here to ask you on a date.” At times I wish Fallis had left more to the imagination rather than guiding the reader through the narrative. This is probably more of a personal preference than a critique though. The politics are a bit blunt. Angus McLintock is a kind of mythological character - gruff, honest, witty, and smart . . . almost like Rousseau’s noble savage with a doctorate in engineering. His perspective on the relation between civic life and politics is true to a certain idealism within liberal political philosophy. For example, whereas the social conservative demands repentance and forgiveness, the liberal looks for reciprocity and understanding. McLintock also makes a passionate case for national interest before personal interest – since the national interest is, after all, our collective interest (ideally, without subordinating one to the other). Where the politics are a bit less obvious but effective is in his very deliberate move to incorporate gender and gender issues. Several of the characters in the novel are feminists, including Addison and McLintock's sympathies. The novel contains a realistic balance between male and female characters and if it doesn’t completely avoid stereotypes at least uses more than half a dozen rather than one or two (the vixen, the intelligent and beautiful graduate student, the warhorse, the gifted inventor, the wise elder, etc.). A pro-feminist sympathy is simply rendered as part of the texture of the novel and, in contrast to the misogyny of so many classical texts or the hollowness of “chic lit,” is a welcome change of scenery. The Canadian "left" doesn't really make an appearance, which is too bad . . . the introduction of a discussion of "class" with regard to personal and national interest might have been interesting. As the novel unfolds we find that McLintock is the reluctant servant, the brilliant everyman, the benevolent yet mildly naïve do-gooder. Addison is the disenchanted flak catcher who must be brought back into the fullness of civic political life. I found the rustic image of McLintock a cliché but this is complicated by some rather revealing and personal journal entries written to his recently deceased wife. The majesty of McLintock is certainly undeniable. In many respects this is a coming-of-age story, a novel about rejuvination and inspiration. All in all this is a very nicely crafted feel-good story about provincial politics and the Ottawa River.
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One wonders how anyone could keep from laughing. While I am not usually a fervent consumer of Canadian authors, I have recently delved into both the serious and humorous sides of Canadian literature. I have found within "The Best Laid Plans" a refreshingly unique manner (Murphy's law meets the u-catastrophe) for writing a character driven novel. I must shamefully admit that this fictional novel brought me far closer to Canadian politics than I have been for a number of years. Granted, the world of politics is far more entertaining with an iritable Scotsman, a fiery octogenarian, two conformist punks, and a desperate Daniel trying to escape the clutches of Canadian politics. One wonders how anyone could keep from laughing.
Date published: 2008-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "My Kind of Book!" I picked it up to read on a trip and loved it. Jolly good fun!
Date published: 2008-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instant Classic As someone who has worked in the wierd world of politics I loved this book - its real, real funny and closer to the "way things work" than even some non-fiction Ottawa books can take you. All with outstanding humour and a pace that makes me only hope there is a sequel in the offing. Move over Ian Rankin. There is a Canadian political series equivalent in the making - I hope. A great read, funny and certainly could not put this one down. Who is this Terry Fallis? I think we'll be hearing a lot more of him.
Date published: 2007-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific First Novel! When I first picked up Terry Fallis' novel which is described on the cover as a "satirical novel of Canadian politics" I wasn't expecting it to be very compelling -- I'm not much into politics, after all. But this novel was compelling from the first word. I was immediately hooked by narrator Daniel Addison and his departure from the Canadian political scene to teach English to Engineers at Ottawa University. I particularly enjoyed the hilarious and uniquely creative description of walking in on his girlfriend and a cabinet minister and describing their tryst in "parliamentary language." Rick Mercer couldn't have done a better job of setting up the laughs from this scene. But once Fallis introduced stodgy old engineering professor Angus McLintock I was double-hooked. Watching this unlikely Liberal candidate's rise to power marks one of the best books I've read this year. The main plot and sub-stories wind perfectly together providing a wonderfully balanced and thoroughly enjoyable tale. While I actually did laugh out loud several times reading this satirical novel, I was also moved and touched by the characters who live long after I have turned the final page of the book.
Date published: 2007-11-03

– More About This Product –

The Best Laid Plans: A Novel

The Best Laid Plans: A Novel

by Terry Fallis

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 270 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.61 in

Published: August 22, 2007

Publisher: Indigo PremierPlus

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 059542872X

ISBN - 13: 9780595428724

From the Publisher

Thirty-something Daniel Addison is jaded and burned out from his Parliament Hill job as a speech writer for the Liberal Leader of the Opposition. After a messy breakup with his girlfriend, Daniel is eager to escape the duplicitous world of Canadian politics, so he accepts a faculty position with the University of Ottawa's English Department. He soon moves into a boathouse apartment in nearby Cumberland owned by Angus McLintock, a cranky engineering professor in his sixties who is mourning the recent loss of his wife.
Both Angus and Daniel intend to retreat from the world for a while, but fate won't have it. Angus is desperate to avoid teaching English to first-year engineering students yet again. Daniel, as penance for abandoning his party on the eve of an election, must find a Liberal candidate to run in ultra-Conservative Cumberland. In an unlikely alliance, Angus consents to stand as the in-name-only, certain-to-lose Liberal candidate, and Daniel agrees to take Angus's English class.
Everything is going according to plan until the voters are suddenly forced to take a closer look at Angus, throwing his certain defeat into doubt. Scrambling to deal with this unexpected development, Angus and Daniel land in the middle of a hilarious political maelstrom that tests not only their friendship but their beliefs in government and democracy.

About the Author

Terry Fallis earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University (1983) where he became engulfed in university politics and somehow persuaded the undergraduates to elect him President of Students Union. After graduation, he turned his back on engineering and joined future Prime Minister Jean Chretien?s full time staff for the 1984 federal Liberal Leadership campaign. He served on the political staff of the Liberal Minister of State for Youth, the Honourable Jean Lapierre, in the short-lived cabinet of Prime Minister John Turner. He stayed with Lapierre as his Legislative Assistant in opposition (1984-85) following the landslide victory of Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Party. Terry returned to Toronto in 1985 as Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, Treasurer (now called Finance Minister) in the newly-elected Liberal Ontario government led by Premier David Peterson. For nearly eight years (1988-95) after leaving provincial politics, he was a government affairs and communications consultant with international PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, including stints as Vice President running the Ontario government affairs group and finally President of Berger & Associates, a Hill and Knowlton subsidiary. In 1995, he co-founded Thornley Fallis with Joe Thornley, a full service communications consulting agency with offices in Ottawa and Toronto. Terry is also co-host of the popular business podcast, Inside PR. For nearly 20 years,
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Editorial Reviews

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. It 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 UN Ambassador
Bravo! This is a wonderful book with a clever and funny storyline. Humour and heart run through these pages. The parliamentary setting and the backroom shenanigans reel you in. Readers will never look at a finance minister the same way again! I can't wait to buy copies for my friends. I loved it!
The Honourable Paddy Torsney, Veteran MP and Parliamentary Secretary
Terry Fallis's novel has two things that kept me hooked: characters that I cared about and a story that made me want to find out what would happen next. And often, very often, there was a line that made me laugh aloud or think twice-sometimes at the same time.
Novelist Mike Tanner, author of Acting the Giddy Goat