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The Best Laid Plans
Cover of The Best Laid Plans
The Best Laid Plans
WINNER OF CBC CANADA READSThis book beat out work by Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson because it is very, very good--a terrific Canadian political satire.Here's the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide...
WINNER OF CBC CANADA READSThis book beat out work by Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson because it is very, very good--a terrific Canadian political satire.Here's the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide...
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  • WINNER OF CBC CANADA READS

    This book beat out work by Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson because it is very, very good--a terrific Canadian political satire.

    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.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 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...

About the Author-

  • TERRY FALLIS grew up in Toronto and went to McMaster University. Drawn to politics at an early age, he worked for Cabinet Ministers both at Queen's Park and in Ottawa. His first book, The Best Laid Plans, began as a podcast, then was self-published, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, was re-published to great reviews by McClelland & Stewart, and was selected the 2011 winner of CBC's Canada Reads competition. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two children and blogs about his writing life at www.terryfallis.com.

Reviews-

  • The Hon. Allan Rock, former Justice Minister and Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations "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."

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    McClelland & Stewart
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