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The Fearsome Particles [Paperback]

Trevor Cole
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 18 2007
Trevor Cole’s bestselling debut novel garnered rave reviews and comparisons to Truman Capote and Kingsley Amis. Now the Governor General’s Award finalist is back with The Fearsome Particles, a brilliantly observed comic tragedy about the widening cracks in a family’s picture-perfect veneer.

Gerald Woodlore, a window screen executive, wakes one morning to find, to his utter dismay, that he has reached the limits of what he can control. The company he works for is rapidly losing market share and a junior assistant seems to be the only one with an idea how to fix it. His wife, Vicki, a luxury real-estate dresser, appears to be bending under the pressures of constructing an image of perfect happiness both at work and at home. But most worrying of all is Gerald and Vicki’s twenty-year-old son, Kyle, who quit school to volunteer with the military’s civilian support staff in Afghanistan. Now he has returned early and retreated to his room in the wake of a mysterious and traumatic event.

With his trademark wit and strong emotional insight, Trevor Cole has created a compelling, tender story that captures a family at a crucial turning point.

The Fearsome Particles has recently been optioned for film.

From the Hardcover edition.

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“Trevor Cole has written an Ordinary People for the 21st century.”

“Cole’s writing is reminiscent of that of Carol Shields: he can be hilariously funny and profoundly serious at the same time. . . . He not only cares about what’s right in front of him, he makes his readers care too.”
Montreal Gazette

“Impressive — funny, absorbing. . . . beautifully authentic.”
Winnipeg Free Press

The Fearsome Particles is a workplace comedy enveloped by human tragedy, a sympathetic study of postwar trauma played to the laugh track of finely observed farce. . . . Pitch-perfect.”
— John Allemang

“Humour that comes froma deeper, more satisfying place . . . . The book soars.” — Quill & Quire

“The novel is well-plotted, smart and perceptive, and very funny much in the same way that Kingsley Amis’s mature work was darkly humorous even at its most mordant . . . . Cole is one of the best young novelists in this country.”
Globe and Mail

“With writing like this, Trevor Cole is quickly gaining a reputation as a major talent, deservedly so.”
Edmonton Journal

“Trevor Cole is emerging as a master of obsessive-delusional-neurotic-tragicomic fiction. His two novels, Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life (which was shortlisted for a 2004 Governor General's Award for Fiction) and his latest, The Fearsome Particles, both told from the points of view of obsessive and delusional people, are distressing and sometimes cringe-making funny, their humour akin to that of David Brent trying to assert his power in the BBC TV series The Office. Cole's skill at evoking this humour suggests that he himself is quiveringly attuned to the tiny shudders–say, an inexplicable bid in a game of cards–that suggest the life-threatening fault lines in people's lives. And Cole's prose is so confident, compassionate and clear that it draws out that neurotic admission: I wish I'd written that.”
Literary Review of Canada

"Good writing declares itself immediately. How comforting for a reader to know — after only a few pages in Mr. Cole's company — that he is in such safe hands."
—Governor General’s Award winner David Gilmour

"Cole belongs to the Truman Capote school of stylists; his prose is clear as a mountain stream."
Toronto Star

"Trevor Cole knows how to tell a story of the I-couldn’t-put-it-down variety. . . . Just delicious!"
Globe and Mail

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Trevor Cole was lauded in a recent Globe and Mail review as “one of the best young novelists in this country.” He has written two novels – Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life (2004), and The Fearsome Particles (2006) – both of which, in a rare event, were short-listed for the Governor-General’s Award for Literature and long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Norman Bray was also short-listed for the regional Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book, and each of his novels has been adapted for radio and optioned for film. Recently, The Fearsome Particles was added to the syllabus of a Canadian literature course at Whitman College in Washington, taught alongside works by Michael Ondaatje, Tomson Highway, Alice Munro and Carol Shields. And in the spring of 2008, Cole will be the Edna Staebler Writer in Residence at the Kitchener Public Library.

In addition to being a novelist, Cole is also a veteran magazine journalist and editor. He worked for 12 years as a senior or executive editor in the magazine division of the Globe and Mail before spending three years as a senior writer for Report on Business Magazine. For his work there, as well as his in-depth features for Toronto Life magazine and his notorious satirical column for Canadian Business, he has won a total of seven National Magazine Awards (gold and silver) and 21 nominations, in addition to several other prizes. While continuing to work as a magazine journalist and fiction author, he also contributes to Canada’s literary community through, his growing website of literary readings by Canadian authors. He currently lives in Hamilton and is at work on his third novel.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Gary
How this was a finalist for any sort of prize, I can't understand. It's a rip off of Don Delillo's white noise only told in a boring manner with boring characters. I wasn't interested in the plot or characters AT ALL. There was no craft or artistry in the story-telling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb Sept. 6 2007
By Barry
The Fearsome Particles is destined to be a Canadian classic. It is simply superb. Funny and sad, poignant and timely, Cole portrays a family in the grips of quiet desperation. At the same time he is writing about the fears that dictate our choices, the ones that paralyze us and stop us from truly living (even when we think we have it all.) But most of all it's about having the courage to care.
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