Great Thing echoed in the Fall

Fall, Colin McAdam (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin)

In Some Great Thing (2003) and now Fall, Colin McAdam investigates a disappearance. True, in each book, someone actually disappears, but late in the novels' progress. The more important disappearance for McAdam is how some people conceal themselves from others, receding from the world, despite remaining physically in it. Of course, this behaviour has consequences. Though McAdam modulates narrative voice---and through that tone, pace and language in inventive ways---the congruencies between his two books pile up and cause distraction: the setting on a fringe of Ottawa, the two main male characters at first distant, then pulled together in a moment of tumultuous awakening. The second novel seems in too many ways an echo of the first.

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