Here’s the Giller Prize longlist — if you click on the image it will take you to the publisher’s page with an extended description:
Okay, I will admit I am surprised by this list. I have only read two: Sean Michaels’ Us Conductors (review is here — I quite liked it) and Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows which has the distinction of being one of the few novels that so disappointed me I did not feel up to a review. I promise I will give it a re-read and post a review shortly.
What is most notable about the list is the absence of eligible titles from writers who I would say are on Canada’s A-list — Margaret Atwood, David Bergen, Ann-Marie Macdonald, Michael Crummey, Alexis Zentner, Kathleen Winter, to name just a few. I am only guessing, but I’d say we have a jury whose attitude is “let’s give some recognition to established, but overlooked authors”. I’d put Itani, Mootoo, Toews, Viswanathan into that category — I have read works by them all, but did not feel motivated to purchase these latest volumes when they were released. Certainly, they would fit my idea of midlist authors — I will be reading them because of the longlisting, but none fall into my “highly anticipated” category.
The Shadow Giller Jury will now swing into action. Trevor at the Mookse and the Gripes is our short story expert and he will be reading the two collections, Galchen and Page. After I re-read the Toews, my plan would be schedule Bezmozgis, Mootoo, and Itani as next on my agenda. Kimbofo and Alison will be free to set their own schedules.
Let’s hope my surprise is a pleasant one. The 2014 Shadow Giller is now under way — by all means join us on the journey.