The Garneau Block
What Alexander McCall Smith did with 44 Scotland Street, Todd Babiak does with The Garneau Block. This addictive and charming, laugh-out-loud funny novel enchanted readers when it was serialized in the Edmonton Journal in the fall of 2005 — and now, The Garneau Block makes its national debut.
The Garneau Block follows the knowable citizens of the adored and hated city of Edmonton, capturing what we connect to in local stories and what is universal about modern life. Here, in what can only be described as a storytelling tour-de-force, we meet the warm, endearing, and delightfully flawed residents of a fictional cul-de-sac in the city’s Garneau neighbourhood just after the scandalous death of a neighbour and the sudden news that their land is about to be repossessed by the university.
When mysterious signs begin to appear duct-taped to trees saying only LET’S FIX IT, the block — including a sacked university professor, a once-ambitious, knocked-up haiku expert living in her parents’ basement, an aging actor whose dreams are slipping away, and a quiet but polite stranger — is galvanized to band together in a wild attempt to save their homes. And when regular people put their dreams in motion, anything can happen — namely, political machinations, personal revelations, a public uproar, and unforeseen love.
From a young author whose name will soon be on everyone’s lips come the most lovable Canadian characters since Dave and Morley, and a page-turning-good story. Readers nationwide won’t be able to get enough of The Garneau Block.
For the next while, David talked about the merits of joining the PC party. Why fight it, really? No political organization is perfect, of course, but by giving your support to the Liberals or the New Democrats, what are you doing? Further dooming the City of Edmonton. Further empowering Calgary and the rural caucus.
“Nonsense, David,” said Abby. “That’s the sort of talk that leads to tyranny, and we’ve had plenty enough of it in this province.”
“Tyranny she says! Tyranny!” David took a few steps in Tammy’s direction, so they formed a political triangle. “No wonder the left is so flabby.”
–From The Garneau Block
From the Hardcover edition.
READ AN EXCERPT
Madison Weiss woke to the smell of scorched dust and nearly wept. Though she had lived in Edmonton her whole life, and knew well that with September came the first blast of the furnace, Madison felt the city — at least the five houses on her block — deserved...
1. Did you find The Garneau Block compulsive reading? If so, which jams or messes made it most addictive? Some readers have claimed that this book has at least two guffaws per chapter: did you find it as funny as that? Compare the veins of humour running through the book. Which is its richest vein?
— Quill & Quire
“The Garneau Block is screamingly funny. There is at least one laugh on every single page. This novel is fast-paced, savvy, bursting with vivid characters. A celebration of Edmonton! Satire that sucker punches everything sacred. Babiak comes out swinging.”
— Lisa Moore, author of Alligator
“As only the best writers can, Todd Babiak has taken a small patch of turf and, through sparkling satire and a passionate eye, made it a world. A neighborhood in Edmonton is about to get a lot of honorary citizens.”
— Ian McGillis, author of A Tourist’s Guide to Glengarry
“Babiak’s book will make you snicker and guffaw in public places. The Garneau Block is about an oddball cast of characters in a make-believe cul-de-sac in Edmonton, where life is one nonstop block party rife with political intrigue, neighbourly shenanigans, death, and romance.”
— Canadian Living
“...cleanly written, inventive, fast-moving, stuffed with zingers about everything from Satanists to cellphone ringtones, extremely affectionate toward its nutty cast of players, and laugh-out-loud funny. . . . Babiak’s highest achievement, though, lies in introducing us to the motley charms of the people and the city, whether they be bohemians who shop at Value Village or grandees who dine on bison with blueberry sauce at the Hardware Grill. If there really are a million stories in Champion City, let this one be the first.”
— Quill & Quire
“Mr. Babiak is blazing a trail — every city should have a story like this.”
— Alexander McCall Smith
From the Hardcover edition.