Wednesday, October 11, 2023

A New Season

Terry Fallis is always good for a laugh. "A New Season" is light, easy reading, with some interesting insights.  He reveals a little of himself in each novel.  A few relate to his political life in Ottawa, one to his twin brother and others to his public relations career.  This one brings up his love of writing songs and his playing ball hockey right up to age 63.

 It uses coincidence a lot and an ideal set of circumstances.  It makes for smooth reading.  He has rewarded my efforts to read his books with lots of laughter and some insights for myself and those I live with.

The protagonist, Jack McMaster had been grieving his wife's death  for over two years with his main relief playing in a ball hockey league.  His son, Will who also grieved felt it was time to shake his father out of his state.    Will had been given a recording of his mother on her death bed  (due to Covid) worrying about Jack and suggesting when he was ready he should not only visit their dream goal of going to Paris and finding someone new.  The couple had planned a trip to Paris that had been postponed twice.  Jack had a fixation shared by his wife on  the 1920's Paris when several American writers and at least one Canadian had lived there.

Then the coincidences start to pile up.  On his foray to a Left Bank cafe he meets a woman named Calla which it turns out is a short form for (Morley) Callaghan the Canadian writer of the 1920's Paris..  She is not only a part time waitress, but an established respected artist and the grand daughter of a woman who lived in the 1920's Paris (from England) and knew many of the famous personalities.  Calla and he soon begin a relationship and discover diaries kept by the Grandmother that become part of the plot.

More plot points are integrated.  One is he uncovers a ball hockey league in Paris and gets Calla involved.  A song he wrote for his wife forty years previously is turned into a hit.  It is turned into a hit by an actual ball hockey team mate, Jim Cuddy, a very well known singer.  The diary captures the interest of an art book publisher and helps for the relationship to overcome the natural obstacles of having an ocean separate two lovers.

The grieving is the one negative in the book and carries on throughout.  Many are dealing with that emotion and can appreciate how dominant a role it can play.  In reality Terry had written a song for a girl friend he had met at McMaster University when they were separated over the Christmas holiday.  He went onto marry her and it has lasted to the current time.  As an important part of his life he included the song into his narrative.  Although the song was not a hit, Terry had befriended Jim Cuddy playing ball hockey.  Another personal note was that Terry did not like Hemingway personally or his writing style.

This is his second book written during the Covid pandemic.  He has quit his public relations job to concentrate on writing books.  I look forward to them.

I have read several of his books and would refer readers to that would point you to a few of his books and a few more insights.

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