The Next Chapter

With Albatross, Terry Fallis tees off on golf to write a comedic novel about fate and destiny

The two-time Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour winner spoke with The Next Chapter about writing his latest novel.
Terry Fallis' latest novel is called Albatross and it's out now. (Tim Fallis, Penguin Random House Canada)

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 RelationHis debut 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.

Fallis stopped by The Next Chapter to discuss why he wrote Albatross.

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.- Terry Fallis

"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."

Canadian author Terry Fallis sits down with guest host Ali Hassan live in the q studio to talk about his latest (and seventh) novel, Albatross. 15:45

Life's balance

"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 very best golfer in the world. 

It's a novel about life, love, loss and perhaps about the tension that exists between success and happiness. ​​​​​​- Terry Fallis

"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." 

At the tail end of the longest election campaign in Canadian history, we could all use a laugh — but when should we take the humour seriously? 11:24

Terry Fallis' comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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