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Some Great Thing

by

Some Great Thing Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"While the construction business in Ottawa, Canada might not seem the most exciting setting for a story, this brash, ribald first novel bursts with energy and spirit....In dirty, brawling, vulnerable Jerry, McAdam has created a sui generis character, even if his (often very funny) steam-of-consciousness ramblings...can occasionally feel a bit indulgent. Some Great Thing is a boisterous, uncompromising debut." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jerry McGuinty is a simple, self-made builder who claims he can plaster a wall that will change your life. Simon Struthers is a disaffected businessman who proves the old adage about money and happiness. Together they face the new Ottawa of the seventies: brash, bright, and ready for the taking.

With their different careers and successes, these two strangers seek to carve out their own happiness-Jerry with his new wife, Simon with his endless affairs and intrigues. But love can be suffocated by the drive to succeed, and individuals crushed by greed and progress. Only when both men realize what they have to lose will their lives finally intersect, and the story spiral to its astonishing conclusion.

Review:

"Urban planning and construction in Ottawa, Canada, might seem like dull subjects on which to build a novel, but in this compelling, bawdy debut, McAdam fashions them into powerful metaphors for the ambitions and personalities of two opposing characters, Jerry McGuinty and Simon Struthers. An introverted construction worker whose most reliable expression is 'fuckin eh,' McGuinty dreams of building better houses than the shoddy tract homes he's hired to plaster; eventually, he becomes one of the most powerful developers of suburban Ottawa. Struthers, on the other hand, is the master of the charming, vapid bureaucratic memo; the government's director of design and land use, he has a reputation for a smooth tongue in the office and among the ladies. Distracted by one love affair after another, Struthers feels age erode his promise until he becomes desperate to accomplish some great public works projectâ??on the same piece of land where McGuinty is determined to build his most magnificent housing community yet. Fans of Martin Dresslerwill appreciate McAdam's attention to the mechanics of real estate development, but his forceful, cartwheeling prose style is more akin to that of Dermot Healy or Lawrence Sterne. His first-person narrators wink and hint at the reader, and he sometimes indulges in stream of consciousness or other formal play. Some of these sections have more flash than substance — the book's least successful bit is its first 20 pages. But McAdam redeems himself by fusing his housing narrative with a thoughtful exploration of the dynamics of home, where the relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, can often be more loving than those between husband and wife. Technical prowess and a surprising empathy mark McAdam as a writer to watch. Agent, Bill Clegg." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Urban planning and construction in Ottawa, Canada, might seem like dull subjects on which to build a novel, but in this compelling, bawdy debut, McAdam fashions them into powerful metaphors for the ambitions and personalities of two opposing characters, Jerry McGuinty and Simon Struthers. An introverted construction worker whose most reliable expression is 'fuckin eh,' McGuinty dreams of building better houses than the shoddy tract homes he's hired to plaster; eventually, he becomes one of the most powerful developers of suburban Ottawa. Struthers, on the other hand, is the master of the charming, vapid bureaucratic memo; the government's director of design and land use, he has a reputation for a smooth tongue in the office and among the ladies. Distracted by one love affair after another, Struthers feels age erode his promise until he becomes desperate to accomplish some great public works project — on the same piece of land where McGuinty is determined to build his most magnificent housing community yet. Fans of Martin Dressler will appreciate McAdam's attention to the mechanics of real estate development, but his forceful, cartwheeling prose style is more akin to that of Dermot Healy or Lawrence Sterne. His first-person narrators wink and hint at the reader, and he sometimes indulges in stream of consciousness or other formal play. Some of these sections have more flash than substance — the book's least successful bit is its first 20 pages. But McAdam redeems himself by fusing his housing narrative with a thoughtful exploration of the dynamics of home, where the relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, can often be more loving than those between husband and wife. Technical prowess and a surprising empathy mark McAdam as a writer to watch. Agent, Bill Clegg. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"McAdam's debut flexes considerable muscle....The disintegration of the McGuintys' wretched family is made palatable by a clever denouement that knits up the ambitions of the two men." Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

COLIN McADAM is a Canadian who grew up in Hong Kong, Denmark, England, and Canada. Educated at McGill University and Cambridge, he now divides his time between Sydney and Montreal. Some Great Thing is his first book.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780151010288
Author:
McAdam, Colin
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
General
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Men
Subject:
Fathers and sons
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Husbands
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Ottawa
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
1106
Publication Date:
April 5, 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Some Great Thing Used Hardcover
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Product details 416 pages Harcourt - English 9780151010288 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Urban planning and construction in Ottawa, Canada, might seem like dull subjects on which to build a novel, but in this compelling, bawdy debut, McAdam fashions them into powerful metaphors for the ambitions and personalities of two opposing characters, Jerry McGuinty and Simon Struthers. An introverted construction worker whose most reliable expression is 'fuckin eh,' McGuinty dreams of building better houses than the shoddy tract homes he's hired to plaster; eventually, he becomes one of the most powerful developers of suburban Ottawa. Struthers, on the other hand, is the master of the charming, vapid bureaucratic memo; the government's director of design and land use, he has a reputation for a smooth tongue in the office and among the ladies. Distracted by one love affair after another, Struthers feels age erode his promise until he becomes desperate to accomplish some great public works projectâ??on the same piece of land where McGuinty is determined to build his most magnificent housing community yet. Fans of Martin Dresslerwill appreciate McAdam's attention to the mechanics of real estate development, but his forceful, cartwheeling prose style is more akin to that of Dermot Healy or Lawrence Sterne. His first-person narrators wink and hint at the reader, and he sometimes indulges in stream of consciousness or other formal play. Some of these sections have more flash than substance — the book's least successful bit is its first 20 pages. But McAdam redeems himself by fusing his housing narrative with a thoughtful exploration of the dynamics of home, where the relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, can often be more loving than those between husband and wife. Technical prowess and a surprising empathy mark McAdam as a writer to watch. Agent, Bill Clegg." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Urban planning and construction in Ottawa, Canada, might seem like dull subjects on which to build a novel, but in this compelling, bawdy debut, McAdam fashions them into powerful metaphors for the ambitions and personalities of two opposing characters, Jerry McGuinty and Simon Struthers. An introverted construction worker whose most reliable expression is 'fuckin eh,' McGuinty dreams of building better houses than the shoddy tract homes he's hired to plaster; eventually, he becomes one of the most powerful developers of suburban Ottawa. Struthers, on the other hand, is the master of the charming, vapid bureaucratic memo; the government's director of design and land use, he has a reputation for a smooth tongue in the office and among the ladies. Distracted by one love affair after another, Struthers feels age erode his promise until he becomes desperate to accomplish some great public works project — on the same piece of land where McGuinty is determined to build his most magnificent housing community yet. Fans of Martin Dressler will appreciate McAdam's attention to the mechanics of real estate development, but his forceful, cartwheeling prose style is more akin to that of Dermot Healy or Lawrence Sterne. His first-person narrators wink and hint at the reader, and he sometimes indulges in stream of consciousness or other formal play. Some of these sections have more flash than substance — the book's least successful bit is its first 20 pages. But McAdam redeems himself by fusing his housing narrative with a thoughtful exploration of the dynamics of home, where the relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, can often be more loving than those between husband and wife. Technical prowess and a surprising empathy mark McAdam as a writer to watch. Agent, Bill Clegg. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "While the construction business in Ottawa, Canada might not seem the most exciting setting for a story, this brash, ribald first novel bursts with energy and spirit....In dirty, brawling, vulnerable Jerry, McAdam has created a sui generis character, even if his (often very funny) steam-of-consciousness ramblings...can occasionally feel a bit indulgent. Some Great Thing is a boisterous, uncompromising debut." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "McAdam's debut flexes considerable muscle....The disintegration of the McGuintys' wretched family is made palatable by a clever denouement that knits up the ambitions of the two men."
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