In his fourth novel, winner of the 2011 Canada Reads competition and “CanLit’s crowned king of chuckles” (Telegraph-Journal) Terry Fallis’s sharp, funny wit takes readers into the world of identity, inheritance, and belonging, begging the question: What’s in a name?
This is the story of a young copywriter in New York City. He’s worked at the same agency for fifteen years, and with a recent promotion under his belt, life is good. Then, one morning this copywriter finds himself unceremoniously fired from his job, and after he catches his live-in girlfriend moving out of their apartment a couple hours later, he’s also single. Believe it or not, these aren’t the biggest problems in this copywriter’s life. There’s something bigger, something that has been haunting him his whole life, something that he’ll never be able to shake. Meet Earnest Hemmingway.
What’s in a name? Well, if you share your moniker with the likes of some of the most revered, infamous, and sometimes dreaded names in history, plenty. This is Earnest’s lifelong plight, but something more recent is on his plate: His father is pressuring him to come home and play an active role in running the family clothing business. And as a complex familial battle plays out, Earnest’s inherited name leads him in unexpected directions. Wry, clever, and utterly engaging, No Relation is Terry Fallis at the top of his form.
“After Toronto, Paris, Pamplona and Key West, the last leg of my tour was depressing in almost every respect. It was cloudy, dreary and rainy day. The sky closed in on me as I drove. The weather was enough to dampen the spirits of even the most jubilant optimists. But I was laid low by more than meteorology. Upon touchdown in Boise and throughout the drive to Ketchum, I simply could not stop thinking about Hemingway’s final days, not to mention his final act. But the time he moved to Ketchum, he was no longer the write he once was, and he knew it. He had concluded that his writing had irretrievably declined to well below the standards he’d always set for himself. This realization was a devastating blow he just couldn’t sustain. He even tried electroshock therapy in the high hopes of restoring his gift. But it was futile. In his final months, he acted strangely, pushing away friends and descending into depression and paranoia. He claimed ‘the feds’ were out to get him, tailing him everywhere, and even bugging his phones. He’d always been a drinker. But in his final decline, he drank even more, with predictable effect. Then, in the early morning of July 1, 1961, he arose before Mary, pulled his favourite shotgun from the rack, shoved in two shells, and ended his life.”
I heart a book that aches of Mordechai Richler themes and dialogue. “No Relation” By Terry Fallis is full of the late Richler’s intent but with new and improved refreshing quips that will leave you feeling refreshed while also dabbling into some awesome Canadian Lit.
I really enjoyed the character of Earnest Hemmingway in “No Relation” By Terry Fallis. At first I thought he would be a far moodier and curmudgeonly character but ended up being likeable and full of wonderment.
Look not every book is going to lead you down the course of enlightenment. “No Relation” By Terry Fallis inspired my one sided daily dialogue with life, to laugh at the small stuff and encouraged me to make lemonade out of those lemons that have been sitting on my kitchen table for far too long.
I’ve noticed that I have been making small changes in my life these days. I love structure and sticking to my daily system. It works. But I’ve been on this schedule for so long. It’s not really working for me anymore in terms of producing results towards change.
Earnest Hemmingway’s job loss in “No Relation” By Terry Fallis reminded me that perhaps a life overhaul is in order for me. I have some time off coming and I’ve already started to piece together a list of ideas.
“No Relation” By Terry Fallis is a great summer read and worthy of a long weekend indulgence. Perhaps it will inspire a life overhaul for you as well.