Books·Canadian

The Antagonist

Lynn Coady's novel is about a hockey enforcer who struggles with being typecast as a bully.

Lynn Coady

Gordon Rankin (known as "Rank" to his family and friends) has been a big guy ever since adolescence, and as he grows older, he takes on roles that fit the stereotype, like hockey enforcer and bouncer. But at heart he's no brute, so when Rank discovers that a former college friend has written a novel based on him, he decides to set the story straight. An insightful look at the psychological and emotional toll of being typecast as a bruiser, The Antagonist is full of heart, and humour too.

The Antagonist was a finalist for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

There you are in the picture looking chubby and pompous, and it makes me remember how you told me that time you were afraid of fat people. That is, afraid of being fat, and hating those who were, so fear and hating, like of a contagion, the same way homophobes — guys who are actually maybe gay or have the potential for gayness within them — are thought to be afraid of homos. So want to annihilate them, make them not exist. You said you were embarrassed by it, though, your hatred of fat people, your fear. You knew it was shallow. You knew it was wrong. You thought it was a prejudice that was beneath the enlightened likes of you. And now, with all this time gone by, here you are in the picture. Looking chubby and pompous.


From The Antagonist by Lynn Coady ©2011. Published by House of Anansi Press.

Author interviews

Lynn Coady discusses seeing her protagonist Rank as a Frankenstein type, being moved by a doc about sports world brain injuries and how she really feels about hockey culture. 4:03
In this edition of Storytellers, author Lynn Coady recounts finding her voice as a writer in rural Cape Breton. 2:30