Fall by Colin McAdam

I would have been a lot more satisfied if we found out what happened to Fall. The pleasure in this book was the prose, but it still needs to be going somewhere otherwise it’s just a lot of hot air. If it can be figured out by a re-read, well, unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

This was the last book I needed to read on the 2009 Giller Prize shortlist. I definitely would have put this ahead of The Bishop’s Man, but I wouldn’t crown any of the 2009 Giller Prize finalists a winner. I must say, a disappointing crop this year.



A place of pressure and contradictions, St. Ebury is an exclusive boarding school for the children of Canada’s elite, where boys must act as men while navigating their adolescence. It is a mixed school with only a handful of girls.

Fall is the most beautiful. At night the beds and bathrooms hum with thoughts of her.

Noel, a clever, ghostly loner, prowls the corridors on weekends, filling spare hours working on his body-building. Watching her, always knowing where she is and who she’s talking to, he is certain that one day Fall will come to know him deeply. But like everyone else she is drawn to Julius, the confident, magnetic son of the American ambassador to Canada.

At the beginning of their final year the two boys room together, and Noel believes he has been allowed into a new circle of friends. Julius grows physically closer to Fall, his eyes open to the moments around him. Noel’s boisterous enthusiasm, meanwhile, shades into something darker as he imagines himself a confidant of his popular roommate. While Julius moves through the daily joys and absurdities of adolescence, Noel recounts from a distance of several years what the consequences were of his efforts to enter Fall’s life forever.