2012 Giller Prize longlist


The 2012 Giller longlist is out and the Shadow Jury has its reading agenda set. We’ve already reviewed three of the 13 — two here and one at Kimbofo’s Reading Matters (click on the covers below for links to those reviews). I’ve read two more (Inside and Whirl Away) and Alison has read 419 by Will Ferguson so those reviews will be up soon. The Shadow Jury promises that at least one of us will get to every book on the longlist before the short list is announced on Oct. 30 and you’ll be able to find a review or a link to one here.

First, the list — I haven’t supplied links here but the Scotiabank Giller site has links to the publisher of each book. I was able to find all but Fagan’s (which is on re-order) on the Indigo website this morning so Canadians should be able to get copies — international readers will face a greater challenge but we will have some thoughts here later. My opening thoughts on the longlist are found at the bottom of this post.

Reviewed by KfC

Dr. Brinkley’s Tower, by Robert Hough

Ru, by Kim Thúy


Reviewed by Kimbofo

Our Daily Bread, by Lauren B. Davis

Reviews to come soon

Inside, Alix Ohlin

Whirl Away, by Russell Wangersky

Y, by Marjorie Celona

The Sweet Girl, by Annabel Lyon

Reviews to come eventually

My Life Among The Apes, by Carl Fagan

419, by Will Ferguson

One Good Hustle, by Billie Livingston

Everybody Has Everything, by Katrina Onstad

The Emperor of Paris, by C.S. Richardson

The Imposter Bride, by Nancy Richler

KfC longlist thoughts

1. Four previous winners — Linden MacIntyre, Vincent Lam, David Bergen and M.G. Vassanji — are missing from the list, so we have a bit of a “rebel” jury at play here. I was lukewarm on MacIntyre’s Why Men Lie and even less impressed by Lam’s The Headmaster’s Wager. The Bergen and Vassanji have not been published yet (I’ll get to them when they are) but it should be noted that in past years previous winners have usually been granted a pass to the longlist so I think it is fair to assume we have a bit of a “rebel” bunch here.

2. I’m somewhat surprised at the longlisting of the two books that I have reviewed. Kim Thúy’s Ru was interesting but I thought I had read better versions of the same idea. Dr. Brinkley’s Tower was an entertaining read, but not really my idea of a prize winner — I’d say its presence on the list reflects Doyle and Shteyngart’s tilt towards offbeat, plot-driven novels and expect to find more of that in the books that I haven’t read yet.

3. That tendency toward the narrative also shows up in the “whiteness” of the author list. Canada has a strong colony of immigrant and second generation writers (and a look at previous Giller winners shows how often they are the best in any given year) and it is a little surprising to see only one (Kim Thúy — whose novel was originally published in French, the only translated work on the list) on the longlist.

4. All in all, I’d say that we have a longlist that is great for readers who are willing to take a chance at reading books that might stretch the envelope of their tastes. I haven’t read an obvious winner this year. I can’t complain about any book that I did read that didn’t make the list — I would have liked to see Dave Margoshes’ story collection A Book of Great Worth there but that was a longshot. And there a few on the list that I had looked at but rejected (generally because I thought they might be somewhat “light” for my tastes) — I’ll look forward to being proved wrong. So while I have a few Booker books left to read, I’m delighted to be heading into Giller season.

As usual, your comments and thoughts are welcome. Alison will be contributing a guest review or two here and I’ll post excerpts and links when Kim and Trevor review books on their sites. We have had a great time with the Shadow Giller in past years and expect to have an even better time this year. Your participation is part of what makes it such a joy.


32 Responses to “2012 Giller Prize longlist”

  1. Trevor Says:

    I’ve been waiting for this day since the winner was announced last year!

    I’m glad to see Annabel Lyon on there, as I still think back fondly on my time spent with The Golden Mean. And only two short story collections, right? I wish there were more, but we will be getting spoiled when Munro’s collection comes out anyway, so no real complaints here.

    I’m looking forward to the fun 🙂 .


  2. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Trevor: Alice Munro’s new collection (Dear Life) is scheduled for release Oct.16 — I have to think that she asked M&S, her publishers, to deliberately set it outside the Giller timeframe. Which of course makes it eligible for 2013, but I think she will again ask that it not be submitted next year.

    “Only” two short story collections is correct as far as I can tell — although that is still a pretty fair representation of the genre.

    As for the list as a whole, I’m intrigued. Not surprisingly, given Doyle and Shteyngart, I think this is a list that is about “plot” and story-telling — which, quite frankly, is not the norm with most prize juries these days.

    I’m equally interested in finding out why they left so many “name” novels off and opted for lesser known, even debut, authors. As a result, I am quite looking forward to just about every novel on the longlist.


  3. kimbofo Says:

    Can’t believe it’s that time of year — again! Looking forward to discovering a bunch of new-to-me authors and having loads of great discussions with the rest of the jury and blog readers alike over the next couple of months.


  4. litereader Says:

    After reading the list this morning I went around and looked at some of the synopsis. I can’t lie, I don’t think I’m all that interested in many of the stories here. Though, The Emperor of Paris seems intriguing based on some of the reviews I have read… And I will give the Annabel Lyon release a try given the fun I have with The Golden Mean… but otherwise, not much is there as far as I can tell. But, come to think of it, I don’t remember a whole lot of really high profile Canadian releases this year. Seems that the Brits, the Yanks, and major translations were the sources of most of my purchases.

    Short story collections are great, but I’m overburdened with them at the moment. And I don’t feel the need to buy any given Alice Munro’s upcoming release (which is either my most or second most anticipated release of the fall…).

    I look forward to seeing the short list and having a better sense of what books here are really worthwhile.


    • KevinfromCanada Says:

      The two that you cite (Richardson and Lyon) are probably the ones that most interest me from those that I haven’t read or have onhand. I am more positive than you are about the overall list — there seems to be some interesting reading here. Having said that, I’d agree with the idea that “obvious” choices (previous winners or shortlisters like Rawi Hage) didn’t strike the jury as likely winners — so they have pointed us to some less well known authors instead.

      I share your point about short story collections — as it happens, I am just about finished Whirl Away which is more good luck than good planning. We get so many collections in Canada that it is impossible to figure out what will strike a jury’s fancy (and I’ll admit that I had not heard of Fagan).


    • Kate Says:

      Whereas those are the 2 that I am least looking forward to! I detested The Golden Mean (apologies to it’s many fans…), and found Richardson’s first book to be only OK. I usually wait for the short list and try to read those before the winner is announced ( to see if the jury picked the right book, of course!) and I can’t help hoping that those 2 don’t make it. There are several others I am looking forward to though – a friend just passed her ARC of Y to me, and she loved it. I do want to read Ru at some point too.


      • KevinfromCanada Says:

        Kate: Contrarian, eh? A distinctively Canadian tradition, I must say. So I would suggest you look at a couple of the others (Y is a good start, maybe Inside if Ru looks appealing) and then you could help lead the discussion. We should not all just fall into line with conventional opinion.


  5. Dave Margoshes Says:

    Thanks for the nod, Kevin. I’d have liked to see it there too.


  6. David Says:

    It’s an interesting list. Due to lack of availability in the UK I won’t be trying to read all of them (there’re a couple I just don’t fancy anyway) but I’ll try and get through the four I have on hand (Celona, Hough, Livingston, Thúy) before the shortlist announcement. Of the three I’ve read I thought ‘Inside’ was very good indeed and was hoping it might make the Booker longlist. ‘Our Daily Bread’ was also very enjoyable and really sucked me into its world and the lives of its characters. ‘Whirl Away’ was for me okay but nothing special – two or three stories have stuck in my mind (‘Echo’, ‘Sharp Corner’ and ‘Little World’) but the rest have faded since I read them a few months ago.

    Maybe because I’ve read quite a few Canadian story collections this year I would have liked to see more than two on the list. For me Daniel Griffin, Buffy Cram, Heather Birrell and Alix Ohlin all had stronger collections out than the Wangersky, and though it wasn’t to my tastes I thought Yasuko Thanh’s ‘Floating Like the Dead’ was quite impressive too.

    I haven’t read enough eligible titles (20 compared to the judges’ 142!) to know if there are any obvious omissions, but just based on the rave reviews they have garnered I had expected to see Carrie Snyder’s ‘The Juliet Stories’, Anakana Schofield’s ‘Malarky’ and possibly Tanis Rideout’s ‘Above All Things’. Of the eligible novels I’d read I was rooting for J. Jill Robinson’s wonderful ‘More in Anger’ and Richard Wagamese’s ‘Indian Horse’ which I found very powerful. Oh well…
    Interesting that almost half of the longlist came out fairly early in the year, whereas publishers seem to release the books they expect to get onto prize lists in August and September.

    Of the ones that are on the list I’ve been trying to get hold of the Fagan since its supposed publication date in early August, having seen it mentioned in Quill & Quire’s spring preview, but it doesn’t seem to have been in stock anywhere online during that time. Mind, I had similar trouble getting hold of another of Cormorant’s titles last year (Gayla Reid’s ‘Come From Afar’). Anyway, it’s definitely one I’m looking forward to reading. ‘The Emperor of Paris’ looks interesting too, but there are quite a few Canadian books I’m looking forward to over the next month or two, so I’ll probably wait and order it with some other titles.

    Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to reading the shadow judges’ reviews.


  7. KevinfromCanada Says:

    David: A very thoughtful and useful comment, as usual.

    Like you, I was mildly surprised by some of the missing titles, most obviously the previous winners or shortlisters (like Rawe Hage or Pasha Malla) as I mentioned in my post. I was also expecting to see Rideout there since I liked the book and had The Juliet Stories on hand, anticipating it would be there as well (I’ll get to to it post-Giller).

    Also a bit surprising is that only two novels are debuts (Celona’s Y and Thuy’s Ru) . This is a longlist of previously published but midlist Canadian authors. I suspect that is reflected by how many were published earlier in the year — that tends to be the slot for authors who sell steadily if not spectacularly well.

    It’s also reflected in some availability issues as well. While all but the Fagan are readily available on line, Mrs. KfC checked the local independent stores yesterday afternoon for four titles that Kimbofo wanted — and could only fiind the Ferguson. And Alison reports that no Indigo store in Toronto has a copy of Fagan.

    I’ve frequently found that purchasing books from Cormorant requires a fair bit of persistence, as I did with the Fagan yesterday. At least it had gone from “sold out, check back” on Indigo in the morning to “3 to 5 weeks” by mid afternoon. I’m hoping that will turn into more like two, although I do have a full reading agenda from the list for the next few weeks. Frankly, I am looking forward to them all — even those that are somewhat outside my normal tastes look interesting.


  8. Lee Monks Says:

    As ever I look forward to the Giller coverage, although (to reiterate a recent comment at Mookse, and to chime with many other comments) not many look that intriguing. I see Alix Ohlin is up next on here – and that does look promising. Look forward to your take.


  9. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Lee: At the start of this year, I would have known only four of these authors’ names (Lyon, Richardson, Onstad, Ferguson) and have read only one of those (Lyon) — despite my long-time interest in Canadian fiction. Yet, all but Thuy and Celona have at least one previous work — and four previous winners and at least a couple of shortlisters did not make the list. At this stage, I am supposing that is a reflection of a jury tilt towards books that tell a story (there doesn’t seem to be anything experimental here) but not the grand historical kind (no Canadian versions of Wolf Hall and we certainly have them). And while I’d agree that there aren’t any that I can’t wait to start, neither are there any that I’m thinking “I don’t think I want any part of that one”. So for me an interesting list if not an initially intriguing one.


  10. Kerry Says:

    Not having read any Canadian 2012 releases, I have no opinion on what should have been included or shouldn’t have. But, I am a little reassured that you don’t see any obvious omissions. That allows me to rest assured that Shadow Giller coverage will give me a fine place to start (and maybe finish) with Canadian fiction this year. You’ve (individually and the Shadow Jury as a whole) have guided me to excellent choices in the past. Like you, I actually kind of like that these may trend a little toward plot which is not at all my usual taste.

    Maybe it is because I find the time to sit and engage a little short right now. Something that pulls me in with plot seems more appealing to me than usual. (Plus, it does provide some change of pace from usual prize fare which does not necessarily mean good things….Rooster….ahem.)


  11. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Kerry: Those of us who watch the Giller have been seeing a transition in recent years. The lions and lionesses who effectively defined Canadian fiction for international audiences (Atwood, Ondaatje, Urquhart, Vassanji, Munro, etc.) are approaching the end of their careers — and the Giller reflected that with only one or two on the longlist. This year’s list completes the transition — the “most established” name is Lyon and this is only her second book.

    And it is only speculation on my part, but I suspect the Shadow Jury (which has been pretty unanimous in its top choices) may have a wider spectrum of opinion when it comes to choosing a winner this year.


    • Kerry Says:

      As I highly respect those lions and lionesses, the part of the changing of the guard that means we will see less of them is not happy. However, I would imagine particularly for you, the changing of the guard has to be a little exciting to see how emerges as a true lion or lioness over the next few years to fill the coming void.

      I know I am eager to see your (individually and collectively) opinions and, based on those, to dabble a little in the fresh names.

      I love Giller time.


  12. Lee Monks Says:

    Well, I have complete respect for the members of the shadow panel and Shteyngart in these matters (no slight to the other members of the jury – I’m not familiar with them) so I’ll be happy to be swayed towards buying some, certainly.


  13. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Lee: You know Roddy Doyle, surely — the Booker Prize winner, although my favorite is his Barrytown Trilogy. And Anna Porter, while now retired from the industry, was an independent Canadian publisher of note — Farley Mowat and Margaret Atwood were two authors on her Canadian list; Calvino, Skvorecky and Trevor from her international list. Since leaving publishing, she has three crime novels and a well-received memoir to her credit.

    While not quite up to the Shadow Jury standards ( 🙂 ), it is a very strong jury although I think you can see why I am inclined to opine there might be a tilt towards “plot”. As far as I can tell so far, they have already made two breaks with Canadian prize tradition: 1. There doesn’t seem to be a historical frontier novel set in miserable climate. 2. It doesn’t look like any narrator will be sitting in a Muskoka chair by a lake contemplating how miserable his or her life is (that was Victoria Glendenning’s definition of “typical Canadian novel” from when she was a Giller judge a few years back).

    Having said that, I note that two of the covers (on books that haven’t arrived at KfC yet) feature people wandering along railway tracks, which is a very Canadian thing. And a third (which I do have) features the tracks of a roller-coaster.


  14. Lee Monks Says:

    Ha! Oh dear. Of course I know Doyle. I was for some reason under the impression the jury was comprised of someone else…groan…anyway Doyle is a bit hit and miss. I’d take your word first over his all day. I hadn’t the foggiest re: Anna Porter, thanks.

    ‘…sitting in a Muskoka chair by a lake contemplating how miserable his or her life is.’ The absence of such a book can only be to the detriment of the award. Every shortlist surely needs one! (Or a suitable equivalent. I am reminded of Kevin Barry’s disdain when referring to ‘funerals in the rain’ Irish novels. I suppose ‘squabbling acquaintances in Glumsville’ might cover the epitome English ‘award aspiring novel’.)

    And again, the very thought of someone melancholically strolling along the tracks is enough to evoke the potential for wordy miserablism, always a winner…Faulkner wasn’t above having such a scene in half his novels.


  15. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Lee: I knew it was just an oversight on your part. Yes, Doyle is hit and miss — but I prefer to remember the hits because they are very good (alas, the misses are rather terrible). And you are excused for not knowing about Anna Porter — that is pretty much Canadian literary trivia but she was, and to a certain extent is, a major player.

    Dead on with Irish “funerals in the rain” — that is the exact equivalent of the Muskoka chair gruesome musing. And I would say that I read at least four “squabbling acquaintances in Glumsville” novels from the UK this year.

    Train tracks are a central element in both Canadian life and fiction, so I am glad to see them on those covers. Mrs. KfC and I have three or four “mini-holidays” a year at the Post Hotel in Lake Louise and our window table in the dining room looks out on the train line between Vancouver and Calgary. We love watching the container trains heading east with manufactured goods from Asia — and the grain and potash trains heading west. Hewers of wood and drawers of water we still are.

    Those covers also provoked a reminder that in my adolescence after the family had moved to Calgary, my father decided that we should “walk” the tracks of the Canadian mainline between Calgary and Banff — it is the track that was built to “unify” the country. Every Sunday we would head out to walk another couple of miles, usually timed so that “the Canadian” (the cross-country passenger train with dome observation cars) would pass us on the walk — we’d scramble up the bank and wave at the passengers as they passed by. It took us four or five years, but we eventually “walked” the tracks all the way to Banff.

    So, based on covers alone, I’m rather looking forward to those two novels. How shallow am I?


    • Lee Monks Says:

      I am naturally very envious of such mini holidays, Kevin – they do sound wonderful. I will eventually visit that part of the world: it’s very much a future goal of ours.

      As for the Calgary to Banff treks you speak of, they sound epic and unforgettable. I’m a sucker for anything of that ilk, though, it has to be said. Probably another reason I find Sebald so wonderful.

      On the covers front: a good friend of mine often likes to reiterate a serious conviction of his, which is quite simply: you very much CAN judge the vast majority of books by their cover. And he does always rattle off a compelling list of examples that resoundingly back him up. Which always starts with DeLillo.


      • KevinfromCanada Says:

        The six books that I ordered just arrived and, yes, I like both covers and “physical” books. Most impressive is CS Richardon’s The Emperor of Paris (not surprising, since he is a book designer in his day job) — deckled edges, nice tidy format.

        As the blog sked indicates, I’ll be reading Y and Annabel Lyon next. After that, I think Nancy Richler and then Richardson, but that could change.

        And if you do get to our part of the world, we have an excellent second bedroom that you are welcome to as a Calgary base. It is in the basement — don’t take that as a putdown because that’s where most of the books are shelved (about 4,000 at last count) and you can pick and choose at whim.


        • Lee Monks Says:

          Deckled edges: very much an element of my ‘ideal book’. Not exactly sure why, there’s just something about them.

          That’s a wonderful offer, Kevin, which I may eventually be impudent enough to call you on. Thank you. And 4000 you say? Good grief, I may hide out down there, never to be found.


  16. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Lee: If you ever get here, you are certainly welcome to the room. There will of course be a major “quiz” each night to make sure you are up to date on the books in the downstairs library. And if you have time we could probably set up a Lake Louise trip so you could read a book surrounded by the Rockies.

    Or, if the footie was on we could watch it.


  17. buriedinprint Says:

    I’m quite looking forward to this year’s list (partly because last year’s longlist offered such a fantastic combination of styles and themes but a consistently high quality of crafting and storytelling, and that doesn’t seem so very long ago) and to the discussion of it here.

    On this year’s list, I’d only read Robert Hough’s novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Of the others there are several authors whose works I’ve meant to explore but hadn’t yet (Ohlin, Davis, Richler, Richardson, Ferguson, Wangersky, Fagan), others whose works I’ve enjoyed (Livingston, Onstad) and two debuts that I’ve been hearing lots of good things about (Ru and Y). The names were familiar but, as others have said, not necessarily obvious choices. (I’ve since read C.S. Richardson’s novel, Wangersky’s stories, and have just begun The Imposter Bride.)

    How disappointing that Carrie Snyder’s Juliet Stories did not appear on the Giller list, but hope it garners some other attention this season nonetheless. I also thought that Yasuko Thanh’s stories and J.Jill Robinson’s novel would have had a good chance, but no luck for them either…


  18. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Welcome back, BiP. Like you, I find a number of authors on this list that I have overlooked — and I do look forward to trying them. Certainly, Alix Ohlin’s Inside was a worthwhile read. In past years, it always seemed that there were two or three “obvious” Giller books (which often did not win the prize). This year, I think, we have a longlist that is much more evenly matched — and I suspect that is going to provoke some diverse response from readers.


  19. lascosas Says:


    Managed to finish reading the entire longlist. Can’t say it was a particularly enjoyable experience, but as you said, they aren’t actually bad (or at least most of them aren’t actually bad).

    My #1 is Y, even though I hated reading each and every page. At the sentence level it is very sophisticated and well crafted, and she is telling an unusual story, and telling it very well. The problem is that I had zero interest in any of the characters or the story line. Absolute zero. I had to force myself to continue reading it and concentrated on the technical aspects of what the author was doing, and doing very well.

    I made The Emperor of Paris my #2. I liked that the physical book, with its raspberry colored cover, faux fine end papers and even a book plate fit snuggly into the book-as-physical-object portion of the book. The plot and character development are all within a straight jacket, but that didn’t bother me. The book fails to really breath, but I thought that was a successful gambit by the author. I thought the whole thing fit together well.

    My #3 is The Imposter Bride. Several things about the book don’t work: the journal that is quoted from throughout the book sounds exactly like it is described, a young person’s awful prose. But why make us wade through it, since it is, as advertised, terrible. And the sections of dialog with a young child? Those are very hard to pull off as interesting, and this failed. It simply sounds like the inane back and forth with a young child. What I admired about the book is that it takes a unique (at least unique to me) spin on the holocaust. The damaged lives of those Jews who ended up in Canada. The book follows people who left for Canada before the war but were the only ones to leave, and survive. The walking wounded that came after the war, and the next generation that didn’t personally experience the war but are surrounded by the damaged generation that did.

    #4 is Our Daily Bread. Not a particularly original plot, the city folk looking down their noses at the white trash while the true generosity is extended by outliers who empathize because they themselves have suffered, but I thought the execution was very good. My major complaint is that there is insufficient ambiguity in the various characters. The religious are over the top full of themselves, and the old standby of rural trash having children within that wretched community when they are still children. And the sermons-through-the-ages that start each chapter accomplish zero. We know that the religious are small minded bigots in this book. Adding the silly sermons isn’t necessary.

    #5, Whirl Away. The stories are thoughtful, they have a decent variety of subject matter, and are well constructed. And , well, the rest of the longlist was worse.

    #6, Inside. Intense character studies, but I didn’t think the book gelled very well. Too choppy, too skattered.

    #7, 419. Not really a thriller or a narrative novel. Tried to do too many things and couldn’t really pull it off. Ending was a rather last-ditch effort for pulling it together, and wasn’t satisfying. Also, a young white dude who has traveled all over the world is in no position to write about the life of an African tribal woman. So he spent a few nights in a few villages? He certainly was not in a position to have ever had ever known a Muslim woman in this tribal world. I found his appropriation of this character created from zero knowledge to be creepy.

    #8, Dr Brinkley’s Tower. Same problems I had with 419. Just to hone in on one detail, the cover art. Yes I know, this is the responsibility of the publisher, not the artist, but it is an excellent case study in inappropriate appropriation. The cover shows a small detail from Diego Rivera’s most famous mural, Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park. But that is not what the book describes. It says “cover art by Diego Rivera” and then misspells Alameda and leaves off Dream of a Sunday. Nowhere are we told that this is simply a tiny detail from a huge mural. It makes it sound like Rivera whipped this up as the cover illustration. You can’t understand, begin to understand, this mural without understanding the Dream element, and it needs to be seen as a whole, not simply cut & paste a small section. Aaarrrgh!

    The author lives in Toronto. What the heck does he know about Mexican village life? The whole narrative reads like someone’s fantasy of a foreign place with simple people living a simple unspoiled life.

    #9, My Life among the Apes. Boring stories from a very limited palette. I simply didn’t care about these stories and forgot one as soon as I moved on to the next.

    #10, The Sweet Girl. Stilted narrative. Just because it is historical fiction is no reason to use an off-putting narration. I’d call it pseudo biblical.

    #11, One Good Hustle. Simplistic story told with a simplistic, dumbed down narrative style. Written for adolescents eager to read an emotional story. No subtlety, unsophisticated writing.

    #12, Ru. Hallmark card of a book. Tells a story of Vietnam boat people with brief stories that sound completely stereotyped. No attempt to weave the various narratives into a coherent story. This was written for people who want sad but tender stories told in a soft, simplistic, voice.

    #13, Everybody has Everything. And why was this published? Many surface similarities to Zadie Smith’s just published NW. Two couples, one with kids one without, woman workaholic lawyer, lots of angst. But NW works, this is simply an unsophisticated and uninteresting book. And I mean, you want to plop a young kid into the plot so you have the kid’s dad die and the mom in a coma? And when that story runs aground and the kid no longer serves a plot purpose? The mom comes out of the coma!


  20. KevinfromCanada Says:

    lascosas: What an excellent comment! A fall cold delayed my reading last week, so you are a couple books ahead of me. I can’t say I agree with all of your assessment, but we tend in the same direction (and I will reference back to this comment when I get to some that I haven’t reviewed yet).

    The Real Giller list is due out within the hour of my writing this commnet — we’ll see how their top six compare with yours.

    Again, thank you for such an extensive and thoughtful appraisal.


  21. lascosas Says:

    Thanks Kevin, your kind responses to everyone’s comments are much appreciated. The only 2 things that really surprised me about the shortlist were the inclusion of Ru and the exclusion of Yu. But including Ru is a prime example of the tilt of this jury. Lets keep it nice and pretty. This is a deeply, depressingly bland set of books they’ve selected. I am glad the Imposter Bride was included. Now that is a book that deserves whatever publicity goes with being a Giller shortlist.


  22. KevinfromCanada Says:

    lascosas: I was a little surprised at Y not making the list as well. I liked Ru better than you did, but it would not have made my shortlist.

    From my point of view, I can see positive aspects in all four that I have read — but also have to say that I also found flaws in each of them.


  23. lascosas Says:

    With the possible exception of 419 I think any of these books could have been written 100 years ago. They are just such deeply conservative pieces of writing. Not plot, but just the nuts and bolts of putting a novel together. I won’t harp on about it any longer and ruin others fun. I promise. I think I will disappear and then pop up again for the Best Translated book awards from the Univ of Rochester longlist in February, and then of course back to the Booker in the Summer. See you at Mookse’s!


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