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Spadework (2003)

by Timothy Findley

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342958,010 (2.94)19
Lust. Infidelity. Betrayal. Murder. On a summer evening in Stratford, Ontario, the errant thrust of agardener's spade slices a telephone cable into instant silence. The resulting disconnection is devastating. With the failure of one call to reach a house, an ambitious young actor becomes the victim of sexual blackmail. The blocking of a second call leads tragically to murder. And when a Bell Canada repairman arrives to mend the broken line, his innocent yet irresistible male beauty has explosive consequences. In Spadework, Timothy Findley, master storyteller and playwright, has created an electric wordplay of infidelity and morality set on the stage of Canada's preeminent theater town. In this fictional portrait, intrigue, passion, and ambition are always waiting in the wings. Findley peoples the town with theater folk, artists, writers, and visitors (both welcome and unwelcome), and with lives that are immediately recognizable as "Findley-esque" -- the lonely, the dispossessed, and the sexually troubled. A story that ripples with ever-widening repercussions, a sensual, witty, and completely absorbing novel, Spadework is another Timothy Findley winner.… (more)
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English (8)  French (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I've lost track of how many of Timothy Findley's books I have read. Just when I think I've found them all another one pops up. However, that's not a problem because his books are always interesting and thought-provoking. I didn't think this was his best but it was good.

All of the action takes place in the summer of 1998 in the town of Stratford Ontario. Those of us who are old enough to remember that time will also remember the big news story involving Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton. That story is referred to a number of times and in a way it is analogous to the story in this novel. Griffin Kincaid is an actor about to turn 30. He has been married to Jane for eight years and they have a seven year old son. Griffin is performing in two plays in the Stratford Festival and he is hoping to be given an contract for the next year. Jane is an artist who works in the props department of the Festival. She also has an independent income from her family in Louisiana. Jane thought she and Griffin had a good marriage but this summer Griffin has become remote, morose and finally moves out of the house. Jane thinks he must be having an affair with his costar in Much Ado About Nothing but the reader (and the rest of Stratford) knows he has been seduced by the director of the play, Jonathan Crawford. Crawford uses the threat of not casting Griffin for anything next season to bring him to his bed but Griffin seems to enjoy it once he has first succumbed. Meanwhile Jane is lusting after a Bell repairman with the body of a Greek god but would not jeopardize her marriage for him. Lost in this situation is Will, Jane and Griffin's son, who fortunately has devoted nanny/cook/maid Mercy looking out for him.

I had a hard time accepting the premise that a man who is gay would essentially blackmail a straight man into his bed and that the straight man would let it happen. I know Findley was gay and possibly he knew of situations like this but I have found that gay men have usually suffered abuse themselves and wouldn't dream of perpetrating it. ( )
  gypsysmom | Oct 30, 2017 |
This book covers the domestic crisis in the lives of a Canadian family whose chief breadwinner is in the theater and has a very promising career. The crisis occurs when this actor, up for the part of Barone in "Love's Labor's Lost," begins to think the producer will take it away from him. How he secures the part leads to the crisis and its aftermath.

This book is very strong when dealing with the theatrical: stage direction, design, politics. It's weak when attempting to show realistic motivation in female characters. BTW, the two sex objects in this story are both male.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2010/06/spadework-by-timothy-findley.html ( )
  LukeS | Mar 18, 2009 |
A terrible final novel from a great novelist. The details of how things work at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival rang false. ( )
  sushidog | Dec 20, 2008 |
A husband and wife experience marital problems as the husband is coerced into a sexual relationship with another man. This novel delves into the machinations of theatre life. This was Findley's last book before he died in 2002. ( )
  ilovecookies | Mar 13, 2008 |
On a summer evening in Stratford, a gardener's spade errantly slices a telephone cable. The disconnection results in the failure of a call to reach the house, and a young actor becomes the victim of sexual blackmail. The blocking of a second call leads to murder. And when a repairman arrives to mend the broken line, his irresistible beauty has explosive consequences. ( )
  KarenAJeff | Aug 7, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Lust. Infidelity. Betrayal. Murder. On a summer evening in Stratford, Ontario, the errant thrust of agardener's spade slices a telephone cable into instant silence. The resulting disconnection is devastating. With the failure of one call to reach a house, an ambitious young actor becomes the victim of sexual blackmail. The blocking of a second call leads tragically to murder. And when a Bell Canada repairman arrives to mend the broken line, his innocent yet irresistible male beauty has explosive consequences. In Spadework, Timothy Findley, master storyteller and playwright, has created an electric wordplay of infidelity and morality set on the stage of Canada's preeminent theater town. In this fictional portrait, intrigue, passion, and ambition are always waiting in the wings. Findley peoples the town with theater folk, artists, writers, and visitors (both welcome and unwelcome), and with lives that are immediately recognizable as "Findley-esque" -- the lonely, the dispossessed, and the sexually troubled. A story that ripples with ever-widening repercussions, a sensual, witty, and completely absorbing novel, Spadework is another Timothy Findley winner.

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