The shortlist of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's biggest literary prize was just announced a few minutes ago. Each year I set myself the goal of reading through the long list. This usually depends on how quickly I can get myself in the queue for some of the books at the library, but this year I'm doing pretty well, as I had already read a few on the list. I'm excited that this year, I'll have read the entire shortlist before I make my prediction. So here is the shortlist:
419 by Will Ferguson
"Ferguson is a true travel writer, his eye attuned to the last horrible detail. He is also a master at dialogue and suspense. It is tempting to put 419 in some easy genre category, but that would only serve to deny its accomplishment and its genius." - from here.
This is wonderful to hear. Ferguson is a very accomplished humour writer and this is a departure from his usual work. My review.
The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
"The mystery of Lily Azerov, the ‘imposter bride’ of Nancy Richler’s rich, complex, compassionate novel, shifts through Lily’s past and her daughter, Ruth’s, present, interwoven with the perceptions of her whole extended family, as they adjust to the comforts of life in Montreal. All have been touched by the grotesque violence of the Holocaust, all find ways to prevail, tell stories and laugh – all except for Lily, whose burden of guilt is too great to acknowledge." - from here.
I haven't read this one yet, it's in my pile. I look forward to reading it, just from the juror description above.
Inside by Alix Ohlin
"A woman mistakes a man for a log - and so starts Alix Ohlin’s engrossing novel, Inside. The novel jumps between decades, locations and characters with a precision that makes Ohlin’s hard work seem effortless. The novel is full of surprises and things to admire, but the writing is genuinely clever because it always serves the characters. Inside is a novel about people. It is beautifully crafted and beautifully told." - from here.
I have this one on my e-reader so I plan to read it very soon. There is big buzz around this book as Ohlin has also been nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction prize, the second of the big three literary prizes in Canada.
Whirl Away by Russell Wagnersky
"Whirl Away is a marvelous collection of stories. Each story stands starkly and wonderfully alone. They are stories of lives close to breaking, written with great confidence and skill." - from here.
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories. I thought the themes that connected them were touching and heart-breaking. I've discovered some fabulous short story writers through the Giller Prize and Wangersky ranks right up there. My review.
Ru by Kim Thuy
"Ru takes off on a difficult journey, from Vietnam to Quebec, from one language to another, rendered in exquisite, unsentimental prose. Kim Thúy is a born storyteller, but she rewrites the traditional immigrant narrative in a completely new way, makes it whole and wondrous once more." from here.
This is one of the more interesting books I have read. It's written in a beautiful way, not your typical novel and is a beautiful lullaby (the english meaning of Ru.) My review.
Do I have a prediction? Not yet, those are some stellar books and there were some incredible ones that didn't make the list. I'll let you know my prediction on October 29, the day before the winner is announced (and last year, I predicted correctly.)