The Scotiabank Giller Prize jury has announced the longlist for the 2012 Giller Prize. The shortlist will be announced on October 1st and the winner will be announced October 30th.
Marjorie Celona for her novel Y, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada
A MESMERIZING DEBUT THAT BEGINS WITH A BABY LEFT ON THE DOORSTEPS OF THE YMCA AND UNCOVERS THE TRUE MEANING OF IDENTITY, FAMILY AND THE PLACE WE CALL HOME
Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wine glass. The question we ask over and over. Why?
My life begins at the Y.
Lauren B. Davis for her novel Our Daily Bread, published by HarperCollins Canada
A novel about what happens when we view our neighbours as "The Other" and the transformative power of unlikely friendships; Our Daily Bread is inspired by the true story of the Goler Clan of Nova Scotia. The God-fearing people of Gideon shun the Erskine Clan, who have lived on North Mountain in poverty, secrecy and isolation, believing their neighbours to be beyond salvation. "That's the mountain," they say. "What do you expect from those people?" Yet in both groups nearly everyone has secrets and nothing is as it seems. On the mountain, Albert Erskine dreams of a better and safer life for his younger brothers and sisters. He lives by his code: "You keep your secrets to yourself and you keep your weaknesses a secret and your hurts a secret and your dreams you bury double deep." In town, young Ivy Evans is relentlessly bullied by her classmates. Though her father, Tom, is a well-liked local, his troubled marriage to a restless outsider is a source of gossip. As rumors and innuendo about the Evans family spread, Ivy seeks refuge in Dorothy Carlisle, an independent-minded widow who runs a local antique store. When Albert ventures down the mountain and seizes on the Evanses' family crisis as an opportunity to befriend Ivy's vulnerable teenage brother, Bobby, he sets in motion a chain of events that changes everything.
Cary Fagan for his short story collection My Life Among the Apes, published by Cormorant Books
Cary Fagan began his writing career with the short story and now, after five novels, he returns to his first love. A woman leaves her husband, a retired judge, when he refuses to give up his passion for performing as a magician. A young man exiled from the downtown arts scene finds himself living in the suburbs in a community of new immigrants. A widow moves to New York to confront the woman who was her late husband mistress. A bank manager in a bad situation turns to his childhood obsession with Jane Goodall for inspiration
Will Ferguson for his novel 419, published by Viking Canada
A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims. Lives intersect, worlds collide, and it all starts with a single e-mail: “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help...”
Dr. Brinkley’s Tower, published by House of Anansi Press
Equal parts Mark Twain and Gabriel García Márquez, Robert Hough's wildly imaginative new novel takes us to 1931 and Corazón de la Fuente, a tiny Mexican border town where the only industry is a run-down brothel. Enter Dr. Romulus Brinkley and his gargantuan radio tower, built to broadcast his revolutionary goat-gland fertility operation. Fortunes in Corazón change overnight, but not all for the good. Word of the new prosperity spreads, and the town is overrun by the impoverished, the desperate, and the flat-out criminal. The tower's frequencies are so powerful the whole area glows green, and the signal is soon broadcasting through every bit of metal it can find: fencing wire, toasters, even a young woman's new braces. Meanwhile, Dr. Brinkley has attracted the affections of Violeta Cruz, Corazón's most beautiful resident. But is he really all that he seems? Peopled with unforgettable characters and capturing a young Mexico caught between its own ambitions and the imperialist designs of its neighbour to the north,Dr. Brinkley's Toweris a stunning achievement in storytelling.
Billie Livingston for her novel One Good Hustle, published by Random House Canada
From award-winning writer Billie Livingston, an unsparing novel of loyalty and survival that is fierce, sharp and funny even when it's breaking your heart. The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death--a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices. With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other--and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the "weird, spearmint-fresh feeling" of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility. One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell's struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler.
Annabel Lyon for her novel The Sweet Girl, published by Random House Canada
Pythias is her father's daughter, with eyes his exact shade of unlovely, intelligent grey. A slave to his own curiosity and intellect, Aristotle has never been able to resist wit in another--even in a girl child who should be content with the kitchen, the loom and a life dictated by the womb. And oh his little Pytho is smart, able to best his own students in debate and match wits with a roomful of Athenian philosophers. Is she a freak or a harbinger of what women can really be? Pythias must suffer that argument, but she is also (mostly) secure in her father's regard. But then Alexander dies a thousand miles from Athens, and sentiment turns against anyone associated with him, most especially his famous Macedonian-born teacher. Aristotle and his family are forced to flee to Chalcis, a garrison town. Ailing, mourning and broken in spirit, Aristotle soon dies. And his orphaned daughter, only 16, finds out that the world is a place of superstition, not logic, and that a girl can be played upon by gods and goddesses, as much as by grown men and women. To safely journey to a place in which she can be everything she truly is, Aristotle's daughter will need every ounce of wit she possesses, but also grace and the capacity to love.
Alix Ohlin for her novel Inside, published by House of Anansi Press
When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.
Katrina Onstad for her novel Everybody Has Everything, published by McClelland & Stewart/Emblem
Combining a pitch-perfect, whip-smart dissection of contemporary urban life with a fresh and perceptive examination of our individual and collective ambivalence towards parenthood, Katrina Onstad's Everbody Has Everything balances tragedy and comedy with verve and flair, and is destined to be one of Canada's most talked-about novels of 2012. What happens when the tidy, prosperous life of an urban couple is turned inside out by a tragedy with unexpected consequences? After a car crash leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they have become the legal guardians of a 2½-year-old, Finn. Finn's crash-landing in their lives throws into high relief deeply rooted, and sometimes long-hidden, truths about themselves, both individually and as a couple. Several chaotic, poignant, and life-changing weeks as a most unusual family give rise to an often unasked question: Can everyone be a parent?
CS Richardson for his novel The Emperor of Paris, published by Doubleday Canada
Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found . . .
Nancy Richler for her novel The Imposter Bride, published by HarperCollins Canada
When a young, enigmatic woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she left and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know.
Kim Thúy for her novel Ru, translated by Sheila Fischman, published by Random House Canada
A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim ThÃºy's Governor General's Literary Award-winning Ru is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland. Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim ThÃºy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.
Russell Wangersky for his short story collection Whirl Away, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
From critically acclaimed and award-winning writer, Russell Wangersky, comes a new collection of short fiction. Everyone has something they're good at: one particular personal skill that they use to keep their lives moving forward when their worlds suddenly become difficult or near-impossible. For some, it's denial; for others, blunt pragmatism. Still others depend on an over-inflated view of self to keep criticism and doubt at bay. In his new short story collection, Whirl Away , Russell Wangersky-author of critically-acclaimed fiction and non-fiction including The Glass Harmonica, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself and The Hour of Bad Decisions - looks at what happens when people's personal coping skills go awry. These are people who discover their anchor-chain has broken: characters safe in the world of self-deception or even selfdelusion, forced to face the fact that their main line of defense has become their greatest weakness. From the caretaker of a prairie amusement park to the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, from a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road to an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage while sensuously burying himself in the tastes and smells of the kitchen, these are people who spin wildly out of control, finding themselves in a new and different world