The figurative language of Terry Fallis

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I write today about some figurative language from noted Canadian writer, and two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis….

I discovered writer Terry Fallis (pictured above) in 2009, shortly after he had won his first Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for his very funny novel The Best-Laid Plans. This slap-your-knee funny story — about a burned-out political strategist’s plan to kill off his own credibility by managing the campaign of an “unelectable” candidate — delivers many laughs. The turning point of the plot? The candidate becomes unexpectedly popular with voters.

Fallis originally released his book, chapter by chapter, in podcast format, later self-publishing it in print. After it won the Leacock medal, the title was picked up by a traditional publisher, Douglas Gibson books. Then, Fallis’s sequel novel, The High Road, (about the same characters) delivered almost as many laughs as the first book. In addition to being a successful Canadian author, Fallis is also the co-founding partner of Thornley Fallis, a public relations and social/digital media agency with offices in Toronto and Ottawa.

Fallis’s most recent work, One Brother Shy, isn’t quite as sophisticated as the first two, but it offers a witty look at the travails of a painfully shy software engineer who tries to piece together the story of a family mystery. Still, rather than the story itself, I enjoyed Fallis’s writing style and, of course, his sense of humour. Here is the figurative language I liked best:

  • At 9:15, she checked her watch, rose from her desk, and walked, empty-handed, out of her office and into the boardroom. Tension followed her in and draped itself over the assembly.
  • Even Abby in our remote cubicle popped up from behind our partition like a startled meerkat with a pained look on her face.
  • She gave me a long look of pure, unadulterated sympathy, before slowly lowering herself behind the [office] partition like she was riding an elevator.

If you’re new to Terry Fallis, though, I suggest you start with his first book.