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:
The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux, translated from the French by Lazer Lederhendler.
Congratulations to writer Catherine Leroux, translator Lazer Lederhendler and publisher Biblioasis.
The Party Wall is a set of interlinked stories bound together by common themes and characters who are connected with one another. It is an intriguing and highly original read, and quite different to anything else on the six-title strong shortlist.
Jury member Alison Gzowski described it as a “surprising gem”:
After the first few sections I remember thinking that I wouldn’t push on if not for the Giller and then it kept getting more fascinating and intertwined and by the time I finished, I wanted to go back and begin again, sure that I had missed things.
Naomi MacKinnon, who championed this book from the get-go, said it was the first of the shortlisted books that she read, and it has stayed with her ever since.
The more time goes by, the more I marvel at what she did with those stories — the different time periods and the connections between the stories, the little clues that got me all excited every time I was able to figure them out. I would love to re-read The Party Wall and see what I missed the first time.
To which I can only concur: this is the kind of book that you want to return to as soon as you’ve come to the last page, if only to find the clues that slipped by you on initial reading. It’s a masterpiece of plotting and clever storytelling, and its structure is unlike anything any of us has read before. Its astute use of common threads and themes makes it a rich tapestry of ideas about self-discovery, biology and biography. But above all it’s simply a brilliant and fascinating read.
How did we choose our winner?
In the interests of transparency, however, this wasn’t a clear-cut winner. As per usual, each juror was given 100 points to disperse and these were sent to Mrs KfC, who acted as our independent adjudicator. The results were as follows:
Naomi — Leroux 31, Thien 24, Whittall 17, Barwin 15, Awad 8, Donoghue 5
Kim — Thien 28, Leroux 21, Whittall 20, Awad 14, Donoghue 12, Barwin 5
Alison — Thien 22, Leroux 20, Awad 18, Donoghue 14, Whittall 13, Barwin 13
On points alone, this put Thien on 74, but Leroux was a close second on 72. Could Naomi persuade us that Leroux’s book was more deserving of the prize? Obviously, she could, or we wouldn’t have named The Party Wall as our winner!
Now we await to see whether the Real Giller Prize jury agree with us. They will name their official winner on Monday, 7 November. For specific timings, please visit the official website.
What do you think of our choice? Have you read The Party Wall, or do you plan to?