Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Incest-Free Canadian Novel Wins Prize; Terry Fallis Wins The Leacock

News today that Terry Fallis's The Best Laid Plans has won the Leacock Medal for Humour. The prize, sponsored by TD Bank Financial Group, is awarded annually to the Canadian book that best combines themes of abandonment, loss, and sexual inadequacy. Or maybe rape, self-immolation, and funny librarians. Wait, that's not right...How about sarcastic dogs, ice sculpting, and chemical castration. Yeah, that's the one.

Ever heard what happened when they called Leon Rooke to tell him he hadn't won for Shakespeare's Dog? "I'd be upset," Rooke said, "but I just got the most terrific blow job last night. The lips, the tongue...Twice I had to pull the leash. God, what a night. She must've had a fever, I'll tell you that. And...And...And, what's more--you've got the wrong number."

It's funny that they've named a prize after a man who once said, "The only difference between the comic novel and serious literature is that you use one to jerk off to and the other to clean up--but both are great for train rides."

This was truly a great Canadian.

I'll point out that Fallis had to go begging in order to get his book published. He tried Doubleday, but they had their hands full with an Albertan-authored trans-transgender trilogy (the climax is that it was a dream; she was just sleeping on the remote control). Anansi was doing something with Mennonites, Catholic guilt, and a partial eclipse. And McClelland and Stewart had its hands full with four big incest tomes that all, in some way, feature canoes.

I had to pause for a second when I realized Fallis's book didn't have any ghosts. Where the hell are all the allegories? You mean this book's not patterned after The Iliad? Gee, where's Fallis from? Buffalo?

Fallis takes the $10,000 cheque, and for that I'm sure he's grateful. It wouldn't be Canada if a prize-winning writer didn't pocket 1/3 of an annual SSHRC Doctoral Grant for his full-length novel.

The only thing left to do is read Fallis's book. I was talking about it with my PhD friends, and they all agreed that they're looking forward to his interpretation of the suburban garden-hose douche. "That's Terry Griggs," I said. "This is Fallis."

"Oh. Who the hell's he?"

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