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Exploring The Best Laid Plans: Prologue and Chapter One


CBC Books is about conversation and community, which is why we want to explore the Canada Reads 2011 champion, The Best Laid Plans, chapter by chapter. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we will release an audio version of one chapter (generously recorded and given to us by author Terry Fallis) as well as pose discussion questions. You can join the conversation by commenting on the blog posts right here on the Canada Reads site or by joining the discussion group for The Best Laid Plans in the CBC Books Community.

The podcast is available here, on our Watch/Listen page and through CBC Podcasting.


The set-up: In the prologue, we meet Daniel Addison, the protagonist and narrator. He reveals why he abandoned a political life to seek solace in the ivory towers of academia and how he, an aspiring young speechwriter, ended up owing the Liberal Party one last favour. Daniel needs to find an apartment and hunt for a candidate to run in the long-time Tory stronghold of the (fictional) Cumberland-Prescott riding. By the end of chapter one, the first problem is solved thanks to some savvy political maneuvering. As for the second — well, it turns out the solution might be closer at hand than it might seem.


The questions:

1. Was Rachel's indiscretion the only reason Daniel fled so quickly? Or does his eagerness to get off Parliament Hill have to do with deeper issues?

2. Were Daniel's actions to score the boathouse apartment ethical? What does this say about his character?

3. Why did Daniel feel so compelled to help the Liberal Party out if he was abandoning that career for one in academia?

4. How are academic life and political life similar? How are they different?

5. Muriel acts as both a challenger and supporter of Daniel and his political pursuits. How do you see their relationship evolving?

6. How do you feel about Daniel being a member of the Liberal Party? Could the story be as effective if he were a member of the Conservatives or the NDP?

7. Why do you think Angus was so eager to take Daniel on as a tenant? Did he see through Daniel's game? Why or why not?

8. Which character do you find most sympathetic, and why?


Our Win a Visit from Terry Fallis contest is still running. Join the CBC Books Community and enter for a chance to win!

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