Shadow Giller judge Trevor has reviewed David Bergen’s The Matter with Morris. Here are his opening paragraphs:
My second stop on this year’s Giller shortlist is David Bergen’s The Matter with Morris (2010). Bergen won the Giller in 2005 for The Time in Between, and he was shortlisted in 2008 for The Retreat. The other authors on this year’s shortlist are all first-time Giller finalists. None has ever been on the longlist, either. In fact, other than a short story collection here (Winter) or a book of poetry there (Skibsrud), the other finalists are new authors in the book publishing world. Bergen is the heavy-weight, the seasoned professional. Yet, without having read three of the five finalists, I suspect Bergen’s book to the be the weakest on the shortlist.
First things first: Bergen’s writing is not showy and it is fluid. Though a novel of abstract ideas, the writing remains clear. That’s a plus from my perspective. Bergen has honed his skill to the point where he is not in the way of his story. But the story is where the problem lies.
I’d say Trevor and I are in agreement on this one — my review is here.