As you may recall way back when the Giller Prize longlist was announced in early September (where does the time go?), there were 12 books on the list. Of course, not all of them could proceed to the next round, but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of our time.
Shadow Giller jury member Naomi has read a couple of the longlisted books that didn’t make the cut. Both just happen to be short story collections.
She describes Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush by Kerry Lee Powell as “fantastic” in terms of stories and prose style. Her review highlights a handful that particularly stood out, including the title story, which is inspired by de Kooning’s “Woman” series of paintings. And from what she’s written in her review (which you can read in full by visiting Naomi’s blog), the book does sound rather brilliant.
Among these 16 stories that vary from 4 to 20 pages, you will come across spouses growing old together, a child and her mother battling it out at the dinner table, a hairdresser and a cancer patient, a lonely mother who has alienated herself from her son, old lovers, new lovers, a woman struggling with weight issues, homeless people trying to find a place to call home, a swim coach and his protégé. There is nothing outrageous about them; they are snapshots of people’s lives, so many different lives. It’s in reading stories like these that I realize how varied we are, yet still fundamentally the same; we feel pain, love, hurt, betrayal, fear, joy, loneliness, shame. And we all long for the same things: to matter, to belong. “United by her characters’ primal desire for intimacy, these stories reflect our yearning for meaningful connection.”
To read Naomi’s review in full, please visit her blog.