With Albatross, Terry Fallis tees off on golf to write a comedic novel about fate and destiny
This interview originally aired on March 21, 2020.
Terry Fallis is the author of several comedic novels. He has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour twice — for his novels The Best Laid Plans and No Relation. His first book The Best Laid Plans won Canada Reads 2011.
His latest is Albatross, a novel about an "average" high school student named Adam Coryell. The teen discovers that he is a naturally gifted golf player, but as he racks up the trophies, he's forced to admit to himself that he doesn't really enjoy the sport.
A perfect fit
"Albatross is a novel about a young man whose body is absolutely, perfectly proportioned for golf of all things. You might think that it's a story about golf, but it's not to me.
The novel is, in a way, aspirational, because I am in no way a good golfer.
"The novel is, in a way, aspirational, because I am in no way a good golfer. I like the game — and I once in a while score reasonably well — but I would love to play as well as Adam does."
"Adam Coryell is the narrator of this novel. He's 17 years old when the story opens and all he really wants out of life is to become a writer. But something is thrown in his path; he quickly becomes the best golfer in the world.
It's a novel about life, love, loss and perhaps about the tension that exists between success and happiness.
"I wanted to create a character who would end up struggling with the idea of success over which he has no agency. His real desire is to be a writer, which really gives him the happiness that he seeks in life.
"It sets up this conflict. It's a novel about life, love, loss and perhaps about the tension that exists between success and happiness."
Terry Fallis' comments have been edited for length and clarity.