Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FALL by Colin McAdam (2009)

A friend recommended McAdam's first novel SOME GREAT THING--about a plasterer in Ottawa and his son (sounds boring but it was a fantastic read)--so when I saw his name on the list at Harbourfront, I decided to go and hear him read from his second book which launches the Hamish Hamilton imprint at Penguin Canada.

FALL is not only the name of the beautiful and smart girlfriend to Julius, the protagonist, but also the leitmotif of the novel. Several of the players fall from grace in this privileged boarding school based on the tony Ashbury College in Ottawa, where McAdam was once a student as the son of a diplomat.

Although the meanness and hijinks of the boarders is typical for that milieu, Julius's roommate Noel takes cruelty to a new level and it is from his point of view that we get the insider's perspective as he looks back at his final year from the remove of his adult life.

What impressed me most about McAdam's book is his dialogue which is quintessentially teenish in its rhythm and content.

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