Some Great Thing

Some Great Thing

Colin McAdam

Language: English

Pages: 235

ISBN: 0151010285

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Publish Year note: First published March 26th 2004

In his highly acclaimed debut novel, Colin McAdam depicts the struggle between two men involved in building a city's future: developer Jerry McGuinty, blue collar, selfmade, a master craftsman, and Simon Struthers, a civil servant from a prominent, wealthy background who shapes land-use policy. Jerry has a blind spot for his alcoholic wife, and Simon moves between women, consumed by a frantic emptiness. When their two stories begin to intertwine, their lives and ambitions are set on a collision course. A richly observed story of family, class, love and the individual contributions we make to the bigness of the world, Some Great Thing is a powerful work from one of the most exciting voices of his generation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Literary Awards
John Llewellyn Rhys Prize Nominee (2004), First Novel Award (2004)


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it. She laughed a bit before she bit into her sandwich, and I don’t remember why, but there she is, in my mind, laughing before she ate her sandwich. She moved her crate a bit closer to mine and it was natural. And there is one moment in every man’s life when Fear and Worry smile at each other and push him toward a woman. Something makes them decide you should forget about them, and there you are falling toward this woman with no real thought of being scared or pushed back—just a feeling of

weeks later. No development of land in the history of concrete-laying man has ever been a pure success unless it was bought from someone desperate or confused. If you see land for sale or land you want, don’t measure it or stare at it or plan how much you would pay. Go to the nearest bar or church, find out from the locals what sort of person owns the land, and if he’s a bankrupt, drunk or idiot, buy it. Like I said, in those early days it was hard to go wrong, but the fact that that man was a

which no free man should ever contemplate attending. Besides. Free. Who mentioned freedom? There were Planners’ Meetings, Stakeholders’ Meetings, Developers’ Meetings, Union Meetings, Community Meetings, Jesus Meetings, Not Another Meetings, my friend, Meeting Meetings, surrounding me like a religion. I have no doubt that I cut my personality on a lot of the dull heads I met with, but I also lost my freedom. And somehow the more organized things got the more chaotic they felt—goals slipping

say anything in case I feel embarrassed.” “Your straw fell out of your Coke.” “And Kwyet … she knows all about you. I think she might be ashamed of me.” “Surely not.” “She hasn’t been upset. She just says barbed things. I feel ugly, Simon. I think she is upset. I’m alienating my family. For what? I always thought there would be more obvious drama. Leonard shouting, Kwyet crying. All the drama is in my head and it’s very small. Ugly. It’s my family watching me. I am the silly drama. Do you

Continuous development, my friend, is a beautiful thing. But if something gets in the way, if something prevents those webs from linking, you have an abomination. My phase five and other future phases were encroaching on what the Government was calling the “Greenbelt.” I don’t know whether I need to say anything about the Greenbelt other than its name: green belt. A green belt. Green, like leprechauns and fairies, weird, imaginary, squeaky little freaks that make everyone sort of uncomfortable.

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