Archive for November, 2016

The 2016 Giller Prize winner

November 8, 2016


Congratulations to Madeleine Thien whose novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing was named the winner of the 2016 Giller Prize last night.

You will recall from our Shadow Giller announcement on Saturday that we thought very highly of Thien’s novel — we have reviewed it here and here — but after much discussion we chose  Catherine Leroux’s The Party Wall as our winner. Both titles, we would argue, are brilliant books deserving of your attention.

Do Not say we have nothing British edition

To see Thien’s (rather touching) winning speech, please visit the CBC Books website.


Sadly, that’s the end of the Giller Prize season for another year. We hope you’ve enjoyed following our Shadow Giller proceedings, reviews and tweets over the past two months. We’ve had a brilliant time doing it and read some wonderful books in the process. Thanks so much for your support.


The 2016 Shadow Giller winner

November 5, 2016

Well, it took a bit of deliberating, across time zones, provinces and continents, but we are delighted to reveal the winner of the Shadow Giller:


Links to all the 2016 Shadow Giller reviews

November 4, 2016

Shadow Giller logoThis weekend we plan on announcing the winner of the Shadow Giller. It’s hard to believe that eight weeks ago we were trying to make up our mind as to whether to continue this venture without Kevin, our chairman, at the helm. I’m so glad we did. This year’s books have proved to be sometimes challenging, often daring and always intriguing reads.

While we three jury members — Alison, Naomi and myself — busy ourselves trying to choose which book should win, here are the links to all our reviews, both on this site and our own blogs.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux (trs. Lazer Lederhendler)

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Which book would you like to see win the prize?

Kimbofo reviews Yiddish for Pirates

November 2, 2016

yiddish-for-piratesHmm, what an interesting book this one proved to be!

This is from my review:

I’ve never read a book so jam-packed with word play and creative use of language as this one. I would describe it as a kind of literary vaudeville; a mesmirising act of vocabulary, idioms, metaphors, puns and similes. And, if that’s not enough, it’s narrated by a 500-year-old parrot with a penchant for jokes and scathing one-liners. Yes, really.

The story is essentially a boy’s own adventure set during the Spanish Inquisition involving the aforementioned parrot — an African Grey called Aaron — and a Jewish man called Moishe, whose shoulder he perches on.

Fleeing persecution, this “odd couple” is helped in part by an underground network of Jewish sympathisers as  they endeavour to save a rare library of important Jewish texts. Along the way they fall in with Christopher Columbus and set sail for the New World. Their journey is ripe with adventure, piracy, danger, violence and revenge.

Unfortunately, I had some issues with this book. Too clever, too knowing, just too much creativity going on, basically.

To read my review in full, please visit my blog, Reading Matters.

Naomi reviews Do Not Say We Have Nothing

November 1, 2016

donotsaywehavenothing-canadianedition Naomi has now completed her Shadow Giller reading with this fine review of Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, a book she describes as:

…one (extended) family’s experience during the cultural revolution in China. More deeply, it’s about what happens when people don’t have the freedom to live the way they want; to choose their work, where they live, and even who they live with.

Naomi found a lot to like in the book, including its scope, the narrator in the present and the passion brought to bear on the subject by the author. She also found it deeply moving.

But was there anything she didn’t like about the book?

Let me start by saying that it took me a full week to read this book, and I didn’t even mind; most of the time I was completely absorbed. But… there were a couple of parts that I felt were lagging, particularly in the development of the relationships between Sparrow, Zhuli and Kai and their many trips to the conservatory and their many practice sessions. This review at The Walrus suggests that the book is too wordy, however I think that might be a matter of taste; some people seem to have loved every word while others felt the book was too long. So don’t let this stop you from reading the book – it’s an experience that you won’t want to miss.

To read Naomi’s review in full, please visit her blog Consumed by Ink.

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