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3.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Spadework was Timothy Findley’s final novel before his death in June 2002. An electric word play of infidelity and morality, it is fitting that the novel is set in Stratford, the town where Findley began his career as an actor. Now in a PerennialCanada edition, Spadework will join Findley’s wonderful body of work, a collection to be enjoyed again and again.Known for his gi ...more
520 pages
Published 2001 by HarperCollins
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3.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,013 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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No, I wasn’t imagining it. The repeated references to a certain brand of a rather ordinary Australian wine, and later on, a brand of soup, are intrusive examples of ‘product placement’ in this book. It’s listed amongst a roll call of other books that have succumbed to this shabby practice on Library Thing. I’m appalled because Timothy Findley (1930-2002) is a favourite of mine, and I cannot imagine what it was that possessed him to do it.
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Steve Wilson
Very much liked the theme of how the decisions we make impact on our lives and the lives of others and the fact that life goes on regardless of these decisions. I found it difficult to relate to, or empathize with, any of the characters within the book. This is particularly true with the two main characters Griffin and Jane which makes the resolution of the events that took place during the book (their moving apart from each other) sort of anti-climatic. I really did not care what happened to th ...more
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The opening chapter is utterly fantastic. I haven't been to Stratford since I was eleven but that magic of the festival and the magic of the play watching itself. Chills, I tell you. I was so hoping the rest of the book would hold up to that promise, but alas it didn't. I think I was hoping for a lot more intrigue and mystery so much than this erotic thing. The sexual desire and blackmail going on here is really all that drives the plot here than anything else and I think if I had expected that ...more
Lois Ann
May 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of Timothy Findley and greatly looked forward to reading this but it is not on par with his other books. I would not recommend this book. I finished it hoping that his true talent would reveal itself-- it did not. Findley is a great writer but this is definitely not his best work. Pilgrim, Piano Man's Daughter, Not Wanted on the Voyage--pretty much anything else is highly recommended.
Neil Mudde
Did not like the first chapter, once I got into it the story improved, it is a light fluffy farce about theatre persons,in Stratford Ontario, wealthy wife, who guzzles the wine like water, a son, actor husband, the latter "is forced"? into a homosexual relationship with a producer in order to get good roles, all's well that end's well. Somewhat disappointing from a good Canadian Author.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After starting this book, I realized I had tried to read this before. After getting more than halfway through, I gave us again. Timothy is a great writer and I enjoy his style, but the subject matter and the characters and the plot were not interesting to me.
good quick read

about love an infidelity - small town and expectations

Characters are well described and their motivation almost believable. i could not put this down until i finished it. Takes place Stratford, Ont.
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Horrible, ghastly, stiff, contrived and a total letdown from one of my favourite authors. What was he thinking?
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting.... until the end. She made the WRONG decision.
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The actor/director relationship was just dumb.
Yolanda Decot
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Murder, infidelity, a diverse cast of characters, both on-stage and off. Set in Stratford, Ontario, home of the Shakespeare Festival, in the summer of 1998. Local colour and history as well as insight into the roles actors play and how they get 'into' the role. And all is set off by the innocent work of a gardener as he cuts a telephone cable and a call can't be made while another can't be received. Excellent
Aug 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Glad that's over with!
(While reading)
I’m reading “Spadework” by Timothy Findley. My first of his. At first it seemed a boring book, it’s in the prose of mundane American fiction. And then everything seemed too perfect: a woman and her family living and working in Stratford, Ontario, the man an actor, the woman an artist/ props maker. The child precotious. Being me, I just waited for something to break the normalness of it, like you do in a suspense film (which I don’t like, by the way). Slowly, the normal routine of
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Inconsistent. That is the best way to describe this novel. As a person who loves the town of Stratford Ontario, and its Shakespeare Festival, I was intrigued and amused by the set up for the novel. Many of the text's characters are in some way affiliated with the Festival, and the little details about daily life in Stratford are fun reading for anyone who has an affinity for the town.
However, the book's plot and most of its dialogue feels cinematic, and not at all in a good way. There are moment
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ho-hum
Full of promise and poor performance would be my summary.

Riddled with meaningless italics and product placements would be another: wine, soups, cigarettes. Over and over again.

And clichés.

None of the characters seemed real. I felt lodged in a 1940's melodrama. And not a delicious Noel Coward play either.

The main character, Griffin, was unlikeable, selfish and a complete cad to his small son.

Jane was a la Scarlett O'Hara and her "affair" - if I could call it that - felt forced to counterbalance
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-fiction

Although I valued the theatrical setting, this particular novel was not up to Findlay's best in my opinion. After setting up strong characters and conflicts, he resolves the main plot line with a "dead son ex machine" ending, and suddenly all is better. Is Jane so desperate to get her husband back she never questions his leaving or his motives? Does Griff get to cheat and come back with no reparations just because she strayed, too? And given Griff's near hysteria over submitting to his
I haven't read any Findlay for some time and was surprised every page I turned in this book because it wasn't very good...poor characterization, too many subplots that didn't come to much, and a terrible and too pat ending where the wandering husband returns and life goes on as usual. My guess is that the author doesn't know much about women, though he attempts to get in the head of one here, and by the terrible dialog, fails miserably. If you are a fan of theatre, know the industry and know Str ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"On a summer evening in Stratford, Ontario, the errant thrust of a gardener'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 cons" (From Amazon)

A great
Janet Berkman
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very satisfying novel from a master of the genre. Set in Stratford, Ontario, it tells the story of a couple of theatre people, their 11-year old son, and their housekeeper. Findley writes with deep feeling about the stresses on a modern couple dealing with ambition, the search for stability, and loneliness. Small town life is depicted well, the common knowledge and underside of what seems to be a quaint, Southern Ontario town.

Highly recommended.
Jul 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Started this book with the best intentions to get to know the work of this "great" author. How did this author become so famous and receive awards besides? So banal apart from the too many silly titillating bits. The character are not so much developed as they are lifted as flat surfaces rising from a mundane swelling and deflating tableau. I don't care about what happens with the Bell repair man. I managed to swallow about 50 pages and left it right there.
Cathy Savage
Spotted this in the library so thought I would give it a try. The writing was okay but the story was a little odd. Not sure why some of the tangential characters were there or their doings. It did not really impact the main story greatly - more like a distraction. Not sure if I will bother with this author again even though he is a fellow countryman. I would actually like to give it 2&1/2 stars rather than 3 but the writing was decent enough so went with 3 stars.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Timothy Findley is an enormously talented writer who has written some great novels. This one is a good novel. Which can only be a let down given the staggering impression that _The Wars_, _Pilgrim_ or _Not Wanted on the Voyage_ leave behind. The internal dialog of each character was devastatingly effective. But occasionally the story itself became a little soapy. It was a good read, but my expectations were a bit higher.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the reasons I liked this book is because it is set in small town Southern Ontario, Canada where I grew up. It's a mystery, one of my favourite genres and it is by an author I've read before. More often his book are quite heavy, but this one, although about a murder is a lighter read and would probably appeal to a larger audience.
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadiana
Findley`s novels are filled with the fine line between accident and fate, while all the while treading the perilous ground of sexuality and identity. This novel, set in small town Ontario and the unintended consequences of not paying attention to the warning from Bell Canada to call before you dig, is quirky and slightly delicious. ...more
River Avon
This is meant to be a roman-a-clef but since I don't know anybody in Stratford, that was all lost on me. I like the first part and immersion in the rarified world of Stratford versus the plebeian one. After that, I got a bit bored by the characters and the story. Recommend only if you are v. interested in Stratford.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Sometimes you enjoy the writing more then you like the story; this was one of those. Despite the sexual assault at the beginning of the book I had little sympathy for Jane. And I'm still trying to figure out what the assault was all about....pain from the past, disillusionment, or was it just the catalyst for Jane's drinking. I do like the idea of one small random act, changing and shaping lives.
Decent but not stellar prose and a loosely constructed plot. Mostly of interest for its portrayal of the behind-the-scenes drama at a theater festival, which Findley should know about. On the bright side, it's a fast-moving book; twice now I've read all five hundred twenty-something pages in less than a day.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no
Recommended to Laura by: no one it was on the book table
Definitely not my type of book, the review of what happened when a telephone cable was cut sounds like an interesting draw to this book and I had never read a book by this author so was game. It turned a lot of peoples world upside down without anyone paying the price for the tilt. It ended up being a X-rated book with a cross sections of people drawn into the game.
Julie Timmer
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who doesn't love a book set in her hometown? Loved reading about Stratford streets and restaurants I've been on/to all my life. But more than that, this book, like all of Findley's, is wonderfully written. Highly recommend, whether or not you know Stratford.
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Timothy Irving Frederick Findley was a Canadian novelist and playwright. He was also informally known by the nickname Tiff or Tiffy, an acronym of his initials.

One of three sons, Findley was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Allan Gilmour Findley, a stockbroker, and his wife, the former Margaret Maude Bull. His paternal grandfather was president of Massey-Harris, the farm-machinery company. He was rais
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