A rare bargain…
|This is a bargain book on Amazon, with prices ranging from .01¢ to $1.00. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details|
Story blurb: Lust. Infidelity. Betrayal. Murder. On a summer evening in Stratford, Ontario, the errant thrust of a gardener’s spade slices a telephone cable into instant silence. The resulting disconnection is devastating. With the failure of one call to reach a house, an ambitious young actor becomes the victim of sexual blackmail. The blocking of a second call leads tragically to murder. And when a Bell Canada repairman arrives to mend the broken line, his innocent yet irresistible male beauty has explosive consequences.
In Spadework, Timothy Findley, master storyteller and playwright, has created an electric wordplay of infidelity and morality set on the stage of Canada’s preeminent theater town. In this fictional portrait, intrigue, passion, and ambition are always waiting in the wings. Findley peoples the town with theater folk, artists, writers, and visitors (both welcome and unwelcome), and with lives that are immediately recognizable as “Findley-esque” – the lonely, the dispossessed, and the sexually troubled.
A story that ripples with ever-widening repercussions, a sensual, witty, and completely absorbing novel, Spadework is another Timothy Findley winner.
About the author: Timothy Irving Frederick Findley (October 30, 1930 – June 21, 2002) was a Canadian novelist and playwright. He was also informally known by the nickname “Tiff” or “Tiffy,” an acronym of his initials.
He was raised in the upper class Rosedale district of Toronto, attending boarding school at St. Andrew’s College (although leaving during grade 10 for health reasons). He pursued a career in the arts, studying dance and acting, and had significant success as an actor before turning to writing. He was part of the original Stratford Festival Company in the 1950s, acting alongside Alec Guinness, and appeared in the first production of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker at the Edinburgh Festival. He also played Peter Pupkin in Sunshine Sketches, the CBC Television adaptation of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.
Findley’s first two novels, The Last of the Crazy People (1967) and The Butterfly Plague (1969), were originally published in Britain and the United States after having been rejected by Canadian publishers. Findley’s third novel, The Wars, was published to great acclaim in 1977 and went on to win the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction. It was adapted for film in 1981.
Timothy Findley received a Governor General’s Award, the Canadian Authors Association Award, an ACTRA Award, the Order of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Award, and in 1985 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was a founding member and chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and a president of the Canadian chapter of PEN International.
Review by Gerry Burnie
As you can readily see, I went looking for Canadian content this week, and it doesn’t get any more Canadian than the late and lamented Timothy Findley.
Originally published by Harper Collins in 2001 (a year before Findley’s death), Spadework by Timothy Findley is set in the otherwise quaint little town of Stratford, Ontario [home of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival], and is primarily told from the point of view of Jane Kincaid, a southerner from Louisiana. She left the south to escape her conservative-minded family, and also adopted an new persona when she met her husband, Griffin Kincaid.
Griffin is a hunk, and also a rising young Shakespearean actor. Otherwise, they lead quite an ordinary, suburban life, with an ordinary house, a kid, a live-in housekeeper/nanny, and a dog named “Rudyard.”
Nevertheless, Griffin’s ‘hunkyness’ is the catalyst that gives rise to a number strange (bizarre) events. Jane begins to suspect other women might be coveting him as well: principally Zoë Walker, his on-stage partner.
Meanwhile, one of Jane’s former boyfriends shows up to jerk off all over her face and dress, and then goes out to be killed in a car accident. In addition, the town is stunned by the shocking rape and murder of two women by an addict, Jesse Quinlan, who (because he cannot reach his support in life, his nephew Luke – the gardener who severed the telephone line) he goes on a drug-fuelled rampage until he takes his own life. And, if all this wasn’t enough, Jane receives a cryptic letter from her mother to say her sister has recently committed suicide.
In some way lack of communication figures into all these events, but the crucial stroke comes when the gardener Luke inadvertently plunges a spade through the main communication line. Thus, his uncle Jesse has his meltdown, but, in addition Griffin cannot reach his director, Johnathon Crawford, with his answer to an ultimatum – the ultimatum being that he either enter into a sexual relationship with Crawford or lose out on a coveted, leading role.
The result is that he loses out, but he agrees when he is offered a second meeting with Crawford.
Meanwhile, a veritable Adonis of a telephone repairman has arrived on Jane’s scene, and in no time has agreed to pose for a nude portrait.
Lack of communication and sexual desires figure prominently in this novel, but in spite of the resulting chaos things do settle down with a return to a happy ever after ending.
Findley’s prestigious awards speak for themselves. He was a brilliant writer, and there are flashes of this in Spadework, but considering that it was published so close to his death I cannot help speculating there might have been other things on his mind.
It’s only a hunch, but this, his last novel, seems rushed to me: As though finishing it was the overriding priority.
Mind you, it is still a good read with all of Findley’s intricate plot twists present, and for the embarrassingly low price of .01¢ you can hardly go wrong. Three bees.
Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 76,732
Interested in Canadian history?
Want to learn more? Then visit my new page: In Praise of Canadian History. It is a collection of people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. Latest post: The Great Rogers Pass Avalanche – March 4, 1910
Theatre Orillia is a community based theatre company located in Orillia, Ontario – the setting of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Small Town. As is not usual for community theatres, it could use a helping hand, financially. If you would care to be a theatre ‘angel’, just navigate to the following URL: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/886814721/theatre-orillia-summer-season-2015?ref=email.
|Thank you for your interest, and my apologies for not responding to your request individually. I’m getting there, but the numbers have been overwhelming. Please extend your patience just a bit longer. Thanks again!|
Thanks for dropping by! I’ll have another novel ready for next week, same URL, so drop back then.
The views expressed herein are my own and may not reflect the views of others.
To request a book review or to contact me, email:
Notes of interest:
1. Note: To avoid disappointment, the genres considered for review are:
a) GLBT fiction and non-fiction, b) GBLT-related biographies and autobiographies, c) GBLT historical fiction and non-fiction. d) Canadian content, e) Frontier tales, f) Biographies and autobiographies.
2. Due to Amazon's policy of arbitrarily deleting reviews without notice, I do not post reviews to Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, or Goodreads.
Instead, you can find my reviews on Indigo Books.ca, Stumble upon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Books.
If you have other sites you wish to suggest, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Search this site
Top Posts (past 24 hrs.)
- Valour At Vimy Ridge: Canadian Heroes of World War I, by Tom Douglas
- ‘Two Irish Lads: Second Edition’ Announcement…
- Thunderhead, Book One: Tales of Love, Honor, and Vengeance in the Historic American West by B A Braxton
- Maurice, by E.M. Forster
- Finding Our Way (Finding Our Way #1) by Jayson James
- Clockwork Romance by Skye Dragen
- To Touch the Sky (Leap of Faith #2) by M.A. Church
- Lake on the Mountain: A Dan Sharp Mystery (Dan Sharp Mystery #1) by Jeffrey Round
- Wizard’s Moon by Josh Lanyon
- The Ghost Slept Over, by Marshall Thornton
- The Archer: A novel of medieval England (The Archers #1) by Martin Archer
- Twisted (Lucky Jeff Ranch #2) by Jake Mactire
- Full Circle by Michael Thomas Ford
- Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir by Kevin Jennings
- Harry’s Great Trek (The Empire Series #3) by Roger Kean
- Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity, by Robert Beachy
- Spadework, by Timothy Findley
- Behind Locked Doors, by Nicholas Kinsley
- The Butcher’s Son (A Dick Hardesty Mystery #1) by Dorien Grey
- The Academician (Southern Swallow #1) by Edward C. Patterson
- Wounded, by Percival Everett
- A Day of Fire: a novel of Pompeii by Stephanie Dray
- The Pretty Gentleman by Max Fincher
- The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer
- Certainty by Victor Bevine
- Coming Out to Play by Robbie Rogers, Eric Marcus (Contributor)
- 2014 in review
- Third You Die (Kevin Connor Mysteries #3) by Scott Sherman
- Christmasing With You by William Neale
- Favorite Son by Will Freshwater
- Taboo For You by Anyta Sunday
- A Royal Affair by John Wiltshire
- Harry’s Last Stand: How the World My Generation Built is Falling Down, and What We Can Do to Save It, by Harry Leslie Smith
- Lover’s Knot by Donald Hardy
- Raising Cade (Cade & Alan #1) by Jonathan Penn
- Bad Boy: Naughty at Night (Bad Boy: Naughty at Night #1) by Jamie Lake
- Captive, by David Ellis
- Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada, by Brent Rathgeber
- Dominus, by JP Kenwood
- Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, by James Daschuk
- Collide, by J.R. Lenk
- The Trouble With Tony (Sex in Seattle #1), by Eli Easton
- Lovers in Arms, by Osiris Brackhaus
- Red Dirt Heart (Red Dirt #1), by N.R. Walker
- Everything I Have Is Blue: Short Fiction by Working-Class Men About More-or-Less Gay Life, by Wendell Ricketts
- Vamp, by Rob Rosen
- The One for Me, by Hollis Shiloh
- What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society, by Paul Verhaeghe
- The Way of Men, by Jack Donovan
- Stanley Park: A Novel, by Timothy Taylor
- April 2017 (1)
- February 2016 (1)
- June 2015 (3)
- May 2015 (4)
- April 2015 (4)
- March 2015 (5)
- February 2015 (4)
- January 2015 (4)
- December 2014 (6)
- November 2014 (4)
- October 2014 (4)
- September 2014 (5)
- August 2014 (4)
- July 2014 (4)
- June 2014 (5)
- May 2014 (4)
- April 2014 (4)
- March 2014 (5)
- February 2014 (4)
- January 2014 (4)
- December 2013 (7)
- November 2013 (4)
- October 2013 (4)
- September 2013 (5)
- August 2013 (4)
- July 2013 (5)
- June 2013 (5)
- May 2013 (4)
- April 2013 (5)
- March 2013 (4)
- February 2013 (4)
- January 2013 (4)
- December 2012 (6)
- November 2012 (4)
- October 2012 (5)
- September 2012 (4)
- August 2012 (4)
- July 2012 (5)
- June 2012 (4)
- May 2012 (4)
- April 2012 (4)
- March 2012 (5)
- February 2012 (5)
- January 2012 (6)
- December 2011 (4)
- November 2011 (3)
- October 2011 (5)
- September 2011 (4)
- August 2011 (4)
- July 2011 (5)
- June 2011 (4)
- May 2011 (6)
- April 2011 (4)
- March 2011 (4)
- February 2011 (4)
- January 2011 (5)
- December 2010 (5)
- November 2010 (6)
- October 2010 (5)
- September 2010 (4)
- August 2010 (5)
- July 2010 (4)
- June 2010 (4)
- May 2010 (6)
- April 2010 (4)
- March 2010 (6)
- February 2010 (5)
- January 2010 (10)
Adam Fitzroy | Manif… on Make Do and Mend, by Adam… Gerry B. on Jimmy Simpson: Legend of the R… Florine on Jimmy Simpson: Legend of the R… Gerry B. on The Archer: A novel of medieva… Elin Gregory on The Archer: A novel of medieva…
Site infoGerry B's Book Reviews
Blog at WordPress.com.