- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: House of Anansi Press; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 3 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0887842968
- ISBN-13: 978-0887842962
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 476 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #331,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Antagonist Hardcover – Sep 3 2011
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[Lynn Coady] has a hearty wit and a piercing understanding of human nature . . . [she] has made herself one of our essential writers. (Jeet Heer Quill and Quire 2011-08-01)
The Antagonist could have not have come at a better time. In our fast, media-saturated world, this novel gives the reader the refreshing and increasingly rare opportunity to take a closer, more compassionate look at someone wrongly judged by his outer shell. (Heather Leighton Rover Arts 2011-07-31)
. . . thoroughly engrossing. . . a breathless and frequently hilarious narrative . . . one of the freshest voices in years. (Zoe Whittall FASHION Magazine 2011-09-01)
. . . a richly comic creation . . . a revealing effort in cross-gender empathy. (Joel Yanofsky Montreal Gazette 2011-09-02)
A deft blend of farce, tragedy and wry social comment, The Antagonist is no mean feat. (Barbara Carey Toronto Star 2011-09-03)
. . . far more complex than the hilarious one-liners that make her work so irresistible to read. (Margaret Gunning Edmonton Journal 2011-09-03)
In this coming-of-age tale, male friendships and relationships are explored in all their goofiness and complexity . . . [Lynn Coady is] one of Canada's best writers of fiction. (Dana Medoro Winnipeg Free Press 2011-09-03)
. . . a readable, quixotic coming-of-age story, a comedy of very bad manners, and a thoughtful inquiry into the very nature of self. It’s the sort of novel -- and Coady the sort of writer -- deserving of every accolade coming to it. (Robert J. Wiersema National Post 2011-09-09)
. . . by turns angry, funny, tender and sad . . . The Antagonist is a full-bodied work of fiction. (Giles Blunt Globe and Mail 2011-09-09)
The Antagonist is a crafty, technically-accomplished series of meditations on subjects ranging from manhood and self-knowledge to tricky father-son relationships. (Brett Joseph Grubisic Vancouver Sun 2011-09-16)
Unhinged at times, cathartic, lyrical and brave ... the reader must simply sit back and enjoy. (Nathaniel G. Moore Rabble 2011-10-06)
... [a] strong new comic novel. (Michael Bryson Winnipeg Review 2011-09-26)
Sentence for sentence, Lynn Coady is one of the most dynamic prose stylists in Canadian letters. (Andre Mayer Walrus 2011-12-01)
[Lynn Coady] is entering old-pro territory ... (Laurie D Graham Malahat Review 2012-01-30)
Only a writer as wonderfully gifted as Lynn Coady could elicit such extraordinary sympathy for a character as full of self-destructive rage as Rank, her main character. You won't soon forget either him or this haunting novel. (Richard Russo 2012-10-10)
...sharp and very funny...the pathos and humor brought to a challenging life story will appeal to many readers. (Publishers Weekly 2012-12-01)
A genuinely fascinating character [whose] emails evolve from clumsy rages to thoughtful, measured ruminations on crucial events in his life...But it is Coady’s ability to realistically portray his teens and university years and empathetically conduct his search for self that makes The Antagonist more than just entertainment. (Booklist 2012-12-01)
Smartly tuned and as unsettling as it intends to be...Coady expertly renders a man who's compelled to address his past but not entirely ready to look in the mirror [and her novel] is a caution to tread carefully. (Kirkus 2012-12-01)
... a stunning new novel. Coady's writing is witty and sensitive... this is a fantastic book that shouldn't be missed. (Nicholas Mancusi Daily Beast/Newsweek 2013-01-22)
...[a] clever and sympathetic exploration of male friendship. (Ron Charles Washington Post 2013-11-22)
About the Author
Lynn Coady is the author of the bestselling novel The Antagonist, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, as well as the novels Mean Boy, Saints of Big Harbour, and Strange Heaven and the short story collection Play the Monster Blind. She has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and has four times made the Globe and Mail’s annual list of Top 100 Books. Originally from Cape Breton, she now lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where she is a founding and senior editor of the award-winning magazine Eighteen Bridges.
Top Customer Reviews
I had an extremely difficult time getting over the narrator's whiny tone. But what really convinced me to stop reading was when I realized the narrator was a 40-some year old with obvious "daddy-issues", who spoke like he was still 15.
Completely unrealistic tone & there was nothing that drew me in to entice me to read more.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
Really well written, despite being in the voice of a confessed goon. It had me trying to read passages to friends at a party ( don't try this at home) because they were so dead on.
Words fail me. "Read it, you'll like it."
A mirror in which Rank sees himself as the cause of his own problems
A look at the male athlete's lingering hold on youth
Religion as a failing arbiter of morality
The weaknesses of the modern family
The roots of alienation
The neutrality of the novel as cultural portrayer
But to the story:
Rank is a large child-man who can't resist the lure of things and opportunities that lead to trouble. His father, a small man, enlists Rank's help in keeping "punks" away from his ice cream store, resulting in Ranks' beating of one boy (Why? Because he can). From that point on, Rank's life is a series of misadventures, making of that life a poignant, unfulfilled, empty shell.
But there is no epiphany here; in the end, Rank seems simply to tire of his rage at Adam, the old friend who wrote the novel:
"I told you what I had to tell you, and you told me something back, and that's our story, isn't it, Adam?"
In other words, as in James Joyce's "A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man," all the cultural devices meant to nurture and mature young men have failed Rank. He must then rely only on himself for the redemption of adulthood.
This is a difficult novel to read, and I found myself constantly flipping back to earlier references in order to have passages make sense. In that manner, the book is too abstract; it relies too heavily on ideas, pronounced or alluded to, and too little on embodying those ideas in the formation and presentation of the characters - principally Rank.
Still, Coady is a formidable, adventurous writer, and one shouldn't allow oneself to be thrown too far off track by her experimentation with style. The vision of her work here is much too important for that.
My rating 16 of 20 stars