One Brother Shy

One Brother Shy

Paperback - 2017
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From the two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and author of  The Best Laid Plans , comes a new story about a man tormented by an event from his youth, and the journey he finds himself on to heal and to learn who he is.

Few people know the real Alex MacAskill. Most of the world sees a painfully and chronically shy software engineer in his mid-20s, soft-spoken, a bit of a loner, and someone easy to escape notice wherever possible--and that's just the way Alex wants it. Because no matter how many years have passed, the incident known only as "Gabriel" in the MacAskill family is something that still haunts him.
     But when his mother, one of the only people in the world who Alex felt comfortable as himself around, dies after a long illness, he suddenly has no choice but to face the very thing that he's been avoiding since that night in high school. In an instant, Alex finds himself trying to piece together the mystery of his identity, and on a search for parts of his family he never knew existed--a search that takes him from Ottawa to London to Moscow, encountering along the way echoes of the Cold War, painful memories from his past, and even the 1972 Russian hockey team--a search that ultimately helps Alex discover himself.
     With his trademark wit and captivating storytelling, Terry Fallis has written a novel unlike any of his others. One Brother Shy is at once poignant and humorous, heartbreaking and heartwarming, and readers will not soon forget Alex MacAskill.
Publisher: Toronto :, McClelland & Stewart,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780771050725
Branch Call Number: FIC FAL
Characteristics: 394 pages ; 21 cm


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Feb 03, 2018

Nice to hear all the references to Ottawa and historical events of Canadian interest. But it is a very one dimensional story at about the grade 6 level.

ehbooklover Nov 02, 2017

3.5 stars. An engaging, light-hearted read with a very likeable protagonist that touches on some pretty serious subjects. This title was a nice change from some of the ultra-dark books that I've been reading lately.

caravan Oct 19, 2017

This is a likable quick read. The “Gabriel” incident caused the main character to cocoon himself from life for years. Now with strong family support, he was finally ready broke through and be his true self again. The story has humour, mystery and heart warming.

WPLBookClub Oct 04, 2017

The Whistler Public Library and Armchair Books book club read "One Brother Shy" in September 2017. Terry Fallis will be in Whistler next weekend for the Whistler Writers Festival, so we were all keen to read his latest novel. No one had trouble finishing this book, although it didn't have much of an impact on most of our readers. We agreed that it was an easy, light read, but it wasn't wall-to-wall laughs like some of Fallis' early work.

We particularly enjoyed discussing:
- The subjectivity of humour. We don't often read funny books in this club, partially because humour is SO subjective, and some of our members avoid reading humour altogether, because it is so often at someone's expense. (We shared our favourite funny books as well, many of which were memoirs.)
- Terry Fallis' body of work. Those of us who have read more than one of his books agreed that One Brother Shy isn't his best work, but it's still highly readable, light, and easy. The Best Laid Plans (his first novel) was the unanimous favourite.
- Bullying in the digital age. One of the major plot points in this novel revolves around a highly traumatic case of cyber-bullying. We discussed how bullying has changed over the years, and how damaging it can be now that it's so easy to disseminate humiliating photos and videos.

Sep 29, 2017

We recognize Fallis' style again, though the theme has changed from politics to long lost twin brothers and hockey, so Canadian thread is conserved though the novel largely takes place outside of Canada. We can detect that this is a new area of exploration for Fallis and the story is not as tight and punchy as in Well Laid Plans. The plot goes a bit beyond the believable, but I forgive him that because after all, this is fiction, and what Canadian doesn't enjoy a bit of hockey!

Some clever lines but the writing is slap-dash an plot is shallow. There were no surprises and everything was so predictable. over 400 pages for what could be reduced to a short story.

Jul 24, 2017

I loved this book. I found the story very poignant, it pulled at my heartstrings without going overboard into sentimentality. I loved the characters, the situation, and the resolution. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read.

Jul 21, 2017

This was perhaps not the perfect book for me but I still want to recommend it to anyone who is looking for a charming, entertaining, easy read for the summer. If you normally read Terry Fallis, you will enjoy this book.

Jul 10, 2017

Just finished reading "One Brother Shy". Besides being very engaging, well-written, and witty - it was an exciting rollercoaster of a ride! While it did leave me feeling very good, I thought it was definitely more than just a 'feel-good' book.

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