Posts Tagged ‘2018 Giller Prize Longlist’

Five From the 2018 Longlist

October 21, 2018

While waiting for the shortlist reviews, here are some longlist goodies for you…

Zolitude by Paige Cooper

“Paige Cooper’s collection presses astute observations of real-life into a wad of putty, then stretches out the scenes, making them spare and strange, before she folds them over and squeezes them tightly in her fist.

Zolitude is named for a story about severance and a yearning to reconnect; throughout the collection, people are preoccupied with distance and intimacy, with the space between two people (or two states of being, or two versions of reality) taking on a peculiar significance.*

Whether along borders or perimeters, or inside chambers and shelters, Paige Cooper’s characters uncoil and recoil, stretch and retreat, always keeping readers at a distance, even when exposing their innermost dreams and fears.”

For the full review, visit Buried in Print.

 

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

“Jonny’s life story unfolds in a dark and confined space: short-term escapes into drugs and alcohol, even shorter-term hookups for cash or a quick release, and a simmering sense of futility and helplessness underneath it all. The world is the “grungy yellow of cigarette-stained fingers”, the rapids are “full of Lucky cans and severed hands and oak leaves that clogged our drain pipes” and there are hairs stuck to the bathtub’s sides and perimeter.

This is a messy and uncomfortable place to inhabit. “Yeah, an NDN home is like a dandelion: pretty but disposable, and imbued with a million little seeds that dissolve into wishes for little white hands that pluck.”

Home is at the core of this first-person narrative, not only because Jonny is coming of age, but because he has inherited the legacy of trauma perpetrated against generations of indigenous people, the historic and ongoing efforts to separate native peoples from their homelands – to isolate and eradicate individuals and cultures.”
For the full review, visit Buried in Print.
Something For Everyone by Lisa Moore

“One remarkable feature of Lisa Moore’s short story writing is her versatility.Sometimes her vocabulary is elevated (consider: koan, ferric, sculpin, recalcitrant, scabrous, and histrionic).

Sometimes her subject matter is banal.

With characters chewing their fish and chips on Signal Hill with their mouths full. (“Skywalk”, the final work in the collection, a novella.)

Or taking time to explain how they unload a dishwasher:

“A marriage is this: My husband likes the glasses with the glasses, the cups with the cups. Every morning I unload the dishwasher and put the cups and the glasses together. He comes down and moves the cups.” (“Visitation”)”

For the full review, visit Buried in Print.

 

Buried in Print: “Themes from both of her previous novels resurface in Vi, and yet the work feels distinct because readers accompany Vi through a number of changing circumstances, from Saigon to Montreal, from Suzhou to Boston, and through the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Her emotional attachments change dramatically as well, as she and her mother and siblings (three brothers, she is the youngest and only girl) escape Vietnam during the war while her father remains behind. In the years to come, as she grows and explores her own needs and desires (which frequently conflict with the choices her ancestors would need/desire her to make), readers observe her heart expanding and contracting through devotion and loss.”

Consumed by Ink: “Growing up, from all around her, Vi has been taking in messages about what it means to be a woman. She’s expected to serve, to please, and to mold her life to accommodate others.

Like other Vietnamese families, we put all the dishes out in the middle of the table at the same time, with one exception. My mother served my father separately, in order to save the best for him: the soft-shelled crab overflowing with eggs, the perfectly shaped sticks of fried potatoes, the most tender chicory leaves. It went without saying that the fifty seeds of the sugar apple were removed, and its sweet white flesh held out to him like an offering.”

 

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

“What a physically beautiful book this is, with its white jacket and red edging. I hate to take it back to the library. There are snippets of beauty between the covers, too – but like the long bright summer days and the cold dark winters of the north, the moments of beauty and light are balanced out with times of darkness.

In fact, the darkness in the story may get more than its share of time.

The book is about a girl growing up in Nunavut in the 1970s. Some of her experiences are familiar to me – playing outside with friends, making up games. But much of it is not. There is a lot of abuse in this book. It is hard to read about, but I imagine much harder to experience and live with.

What keeps you alive in crisis can kill you once you are free.”

To read the full review, visit Consumed by Ink.

 

Have you read any of these? Do any of them tempt you?

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2018 Giller Prize Longlist – We’re Back for More!

September 19, 2018

Hello friends,

The 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist was announced on September 17th. So it’s time for the Shadow Jury to spend the next couple of months reading, reviewing and discussing Giller books!

In case you’ve not followed along before, let me quickly explain how the Shadow Jury works.

There are four of us on the jury this year: Toronto-based Alison Gzowski, who is an editor at The Globe and Mail; Kim Forrester, who blogs at Reading Matters and lives in London, UK; Marcie McCauley, also in Toronto, who blogs at Buried in Print; and myself, Naomi MacKinnon, who blogs at Consumed by Ink and lives in Nova Scotia.

Our late chairman Kevin began chairing a “shadow jury” in 1995 when he was publisher of the Calgary Herald  — you can find the story of its history here. When he died two years ago, we decided to honour his memory by continuing to run the Shadow Giller jury and now, with the blessing of Kevin’s widow, Sheila, we continue to use Kevin’s blog to promote and champion the Canadian literature he loved so much every Giller Prize season.

Over the next couple of months we will post excerpts of reviews by Kim, Marcie and myself (with links back to our own blogs). Alison may also contribute a few guest posts as well as being actively involved in the comments.

In the long-established tradition of the Shadow Giller Jury, we will announce our winner a few days in advance of the official Giller Prize announcement on November 19th.

Shadow Giller logo

In the meantime, here’s the longlist:

Please do add comments and chime in with your own thoughts on the titles as we review them. Taking part in the Shadow Giller is made all the better when booklovers from across the world jump in and take part. We’ll be delighted and honoured to have you along…


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