The Garneau BlockeBook - 2009
A local phenomenon goes national! This sparkling novel has the warmth and wide appeal of Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe and the wit of Will Ferguson.
What Alexander McCall Smith did with 44 Scotland Street, Todd Babiak does with The Garneau Block. This addictive and charming, laugh-out-loud funny novel enchanted readers when it was serialized in the Edmonton Journal in the fall of 2005 -- and now, The Garneau Block makes its national debut.
The Garneau Block follows the knowable citizens of the adored and hated city of Edmonton, capturing what we connect to in local stories and what is universal about modern life. Here, in what can only be described as a storytelling tour-de-force, we meet the warm, endearing, and delightfully flawed residents of a fictional cul-de-sac in the city's Garneau neighbourhood just after the scandalous death of a neighbour and the sudden news that their land is about to be repossessed by the university.
When mysterious signs begin to appear duct-taped to trees saying only LET'S FIX IT, the block -- including a sacked university professor, a once-ambitious, knocked-up haiku expert living in her parents' basement, an aging actor whose dreams are slipping away, and a quiet but polite stranger -- is galvanized to band together in a wild attempt to save their homes. And when regular people put their dreams in motion, anything can happen -- namely, political machinations, personal revelations, a public uproar, and unforeseen love.
From a young author whose name will soon be on everyone's lips come the most lovable Canadian characters since Dave and Morley, and a page-turning-good story. Readers nationwide won't be able to get enough of The Garneau Block.
For the next while, David talked about the merits of joining the PC party. Why fight it, really? No political organization is perfect, of course, but by giving your support to the Liberals or the New Democrats, what are you doing? Further dooming the City of Edmonton. Further empowering Calgary and the rural caucus.
"Nonsense, David," said Abby. "That's the sort of talk that leads to tyranny, and we've had plenty enough of it in this province."
"Tyranny she says! Tyranny!" David took a few steps in Tammy's direction, so they formed a political triangle. "No wonder the left is so flabby."
--From The Garneau Block
From the Hardcover edition.
From the critics
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Pregnant girl lives in her parent’s basement in a university block. Her father, one of the cheating professors,her gay best friend and the rich Indian neighbour try to fight the university when they find out the block is being sold to convert the land after one of the residents is shot by the police.
Good writing, amusing but a little too choppy and written like a playwright. Characters a little too exaggerated.
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