Poles Apart by Terry Fallis – book review

by Edith Cody-Rice

Poles Apart by Terry Fallis 001Terry Fallis is a very funny writer. Ever since his first published book Best Laid Plans, he has maintained the ironic self deprecating voice in his protagonist who speaks directly to the reader. In Poles Apart, his latest offering, the lead character, and protagonist Everett Kane is a free lance writer who has been roped into flying down to Orlando Florida to care for his father who is recovering from  a stroke. The character is, shall we say, self centered and needs to be bribed to make the trip, but the trip turns out to be his road to anonymous fame – if there is such a thing. Terry Fallis writes very much in the present age. His father is a 1950’s or perhaps 1940’s man’s man who wants his little woman in the house, while his mother, an exemplary home maker while our lead is a child, breaks out into her real talent – business – once he has left the nest. The breakout leads to divorce of course, but that is not to say that contact is lost and it is at the urging of his business dynamo mother who is busy completing mega million dollar deals, that he is bribed with rent, a new laptop and an bank account to fly to the selfless assistance of his father.

In the same institution where his father is recovering, Everett discovers a near forgotten heroine of the feminist past. Beverley Tanner, a fictional founder of Ms magazine is recovering from one of multiple strokes and her time is limited. Everett, whom we discover has feminist views that scare away even modern women,  is inspired by this meeting to start a blog which he writes anonymously. No one would suspect the blogger is a white male. The blog goes viral and keeping the author secret is a central part of the story. To further complicate matters, and Fallis loves ironic complications, Everett’s apartment is situated over a new men’s club XY, which is a very high end strip joint, paying its performers significantly above the going wage rate with benefits. Is this a good or a bad thing?

The juxtaposition of all these characters and situations: the neanderthal father with a CEO wife, the feminist Beverley Tanner who takes on the father as a project ans is more tolerant that Everett, the blog written by a white male and the apartment over the strip joint make for humorous and entertaining reading. Fallis manages to make all of the major characters lovable and the book is a rather delightful romp.

Poles Apart is published by McClelland and Stewart