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From two-time Leacock Medal winner Terry Fallis comes a funny and smart new novel about destiny–and what it means to forge your own path.Adam Coryell is your average high-school student–well, except for that obsession with fountain pens–when his life changes forever. Based on a study by a quirky Swedish professor that claims that every human being, regardless of athletic inclination, has a body that is suited to excel in at least one sport, it turns out that Adam is good–very good, in fact–at golf. Even though he’d never even picked up a golf club.
Almost instantly, and with his coach, hard-nosed Bobbie Davenport by his side, Adam and his new-found talent skyrocket to a prodigy-level stardom that includes tournament titles, sponsorship deals, throngs of fans following his every move, and fodder for tabloids.
But here’s the catch: Adam doesn’t really like golf. And as the life he once knew slips away–including the love of his life, the dream of being a writer, and everyday normalcy–he can’t help but wonder if all this success and fame is worth it . . . or if it’s enough for him.
Heartwarming and funny, sweeping and entertaining, Terry Fallis’s new book takes readers on a journey of self-discovery. Advance Praise for Terry Fallis and Albatross:“Fallis writes from another time, when Wodehouse and Leacock and Twain roamed the earth. May he never become extinct.” —Linwood Barclay, New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs“It’s hard not to get excited about a new Terry Fallis novel, and it is equally hard not to fall in love with Adam Coryell, the big-hearted, sarcastic, fountain-pen-obsessed hero of Albatross, a young golf prodigy who just wants to write short stories. In his inimitable style, Fallis has crafted a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about what it means to stay true to your dreams, and to yourself. Do yourself a favour and pick up this book—you won’t put it down again until the final page has been turned.” —Amy Jones, author of We’re All In this Together and Every Little Piece of Me“Booklovers, rejoice and buy this book! In Albatross, Terry Fallis has found the antidote for what ails our sorry world. May millions of you benefit!” —Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie TERRY FALLIS grew up in Toronto and earned an engineering degree from McMaster University. Drawn to politics at an early age, he worked for cabinet ministers at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa. His first novel, The Best Laid Plans, began as a podcast, then was self-published, won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, was re-published by McClelland & Stewart to great reviews, was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC’s Canada Reads as “the essential Canadian novel of the decade,” and became a CBC Television series. His next two novels, The High Road and Up and Down were finalists for the Leacock Medal, and in 2015, he won the prize a second time, for his fourth book, No Relation. A skilled public speaker, Terry Fallis is also co-founder of the communications agency Thornley Fallis. He lives in Toronto with his wife and blogs at www.terryfallis.com. Follow @TerryFallis on Twitter. PROLOGUE“That, young Adam, is an AK-47,” Bobbie said. “I’m sure you already know this, but the Kalashnikov, as it’s affectionately known, was designed in 1947. 1947! It’s older than I am!”
I tried to ignore her little assault rifle treatise, but after years alongside Bobbie, I knew resistance was futile. Oblivious, she prattled on with her little biography of a firearm.
“I mean, that weapon has played a defining role in so many revolutions across the last seventy-five years. It deserves credit and blame, in nearly equal measure, for most of the coups, terrorist acts, territorial skirmishes, insurgencies, and armed conflicts from one side of the globe to the other!”
“Bobbie,” I whispered.
“A few years ago, I read a fascinating account of the Kalashnikov’s pivotal place in world history, and . . .”
“Bobbie,” I said a little louder.
“. . . it would not be an exaggeration to say that governments were toppled and born, wars were won and lost, and national borders were drawn and redrawn, all on the trigger of the same gun that guy standing in front of us is holding right now.”
“Bobbie!” I snapped in a voice that quite accurately reflected just how freaked out I was at that moment.
“What?” She looked genuinely puzzled.
“Bobbie, that’s all very fascinating—actually, at this precise moment, it’s really not—and I’d be pumped to learn more about this historically significant firearm were it not for the complicating fact that he’s pointing it directly at us . . . on purpose . . . with malevolent intent and little chance of missing us should he decide to squeeze off a burst.”
Bobbie fell silent for a moment, but not nearly long enough. “But look how the sun glints off it,” she continued after a moment, shaking her head. The faraway expression on her face seemed somewhere between admiration and awe. “Quite stunning.”
I lifted my eyes to the man standing about thirty metres away. He wore an expression that balanced rage and anxiety on a knife edgewhile brandishing what I now knew to be an internationally celebrated assault rifle.
“Yeah, and look how angry he is,” I replied. “Quite frightening.”
While his gun was pointed our way, his eyes were not. He just kept staring into the clouds.
Bobbie ignored me and turned to scan the horizon.
“Man, what a view from up here.”
By this time, she seemed completely at ease. I was not. I was terrified—all-in, flat-out, and full-on. On the fear spectrum, I situated myself somewhere well past freaking and heading fast to fainting. If I knew of a stronger word than terrified, believe me, I’d be trotting it out right about now.
“Aren’t you scared?” I asked.
“Quite,” she replied. “But so is our friend over there.”
I looked over at Mr. Kalashnikov, who kept his weapon trained on us while taking furtive glances into the sky and tilting his head like a dog hearing a sound we could not. Bobbie and I sat next to each other with our backs literally, and in every other sense of the word, against the wall.
“These things are so much more effective than handcuffs,” Bobbie offered, examining the plastic tie-wrap that bound her wrists. The one that secured mine was too tight and dug into my skin. It hurt.
“I mean, they’re strong, light, easy to carry, and just as effective as over-built steel- cuffs against the modest power of the human forearm,” Bobbie continued. “Plus, pièce de résistance, there’s no key to lose. Brilliant!”
She actually chuckled as she said “brilliant.” I’m not kidding. With a bad man training an assault rifle on us, she chuckled. I felt like I might pass out, but Bobbie didn’t notice. She continued her enthusiastic, even fawning, dissertation on the advances in personal restraint embodied in the lowly plastic tie-wrap, but the sound of my own pounding heart nearly drowned her out. Yes, I know. I plead guilty to the charge of cliché. I’m a writer—or at least I want to be a writer—so I’m programmed to hate clichés. But sometimes they’re clichés for a reason. I had never really believed that old adage—that old cliché—that your life actually passes before your eyes in moments of dire peril, in that little space that exists between passed out and passed on. But you know what? It’s true. Perfect memory fragments, intact, whole, pristine, flying at you almost faster than you can take them in. And with more detail than you’d ever recall without the catalyst of a life-threatening event. It’s true. It’s all true. CA
|1 × 5 × 8 cm