cover image Up and Down

Up and Down

Terry Fallis. McClelland & Stewart/Emblem Editions, $17.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7710-4791-6

The wait has been worth it for Terry Fallis fans: his third novel has already earned a well-deserved spot on the shortlist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, Canada's most prominent award for humor writing. The book's narrator David Stewart has left his comfy job in Ottawa in order to support his sister and help care for his terminally ill mother. He is able to parlay his experience working with the Ministry of Science and Technology into a position with "TK," an edgy Toronto Public Relations firm with its head office in Washington. On his first day on the job, much to the annoyance of his new colleagues, David blurts out an off-the-wall idea that eventually wins a public relations contract with NASA. The space agency is looking for a way to "rekindle the public's passion for space flight." David's idea of running a contest to send a citizen up to the space station to be a part of the mission is a hit, but then there is problem of actually making it happen. Along the way, David shares his hilarious observations as he leads readers through the mystifying worlds of public relations, government procedure and polit-ical doublespeak. Distribution: Random House (June)