Posts Tagged ‘Washington Black’

The 2018 Giller Prize Winner

November 21, 2018

Congratulations to Esi Edugyan whose novel Washington Black was named the 2018 Giller Prize winner!

As many of you may already know, the Shadow Giller jury chose Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric DuPont as our winner. However, Washington Black was our second choice, so it’s lovely to see such a wonderful book take the prize. If you’re interested in finding out how we arrived at our decision, you can read about it here.

For more information and photos of the event, you can visit the Scotiabank Giller Prize website or the CBC news. You can hear an interview with Esi Edugyan after her win on CBC’s “q” here.

What the jurors had to say about Washington Black:How often history asks us to underestimate those trapped there. This remarkable novel imagines what happens when a black man escapes history’s inevitable clasp – in his case, in a hot air balloon no less. Washington Black, the hero of Esi Edugyan’s novel is born in the 1800s in Barbados with a quick mind, a curious eye, and a yearning for adventure. In conjuring Black’s vivid and complex world – as cruel empires begin to crumble and the frontiers of science open like astounding vistas – Edugyan has written a supremely engrossing novel about friendship and love and the way identity is sometimes a far more vital act of imagination than the age in which one lives.”


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, and we’ll see you again next year!


Three From the Shortlist #3

November 15, 2018

Kim reviews French Exit

The Badly Behaved:It’s quite a voyeurestic read. Frances is a brilliant creation: a badly behaved woman who is an expert at droll putdowns, an eccentric sociopath who takes no responsibility for her poor decision making and feels hard done by without reason.

The Page-Turning Pace:Loosely based around a series of set pieces, the book has a playful energy to it. And while nothing much really happens, it has a page turning quality because the reader wants to find out what outrageous thing Frances will do — or say — next and whether the trio will ever recover their financial standing.

The Conclusion: Visit Kim’s blog, Reading Matters, for the full review!


Marcie reviews Washington Black

The artist’s eye:The way Wash sees, light moves across a colour spectrum which is truly brilliant; it transforms his view – and, hence, readers’ sightlines – of waves and jellyfish, tears on a cheek and the wind across a snowscape. “For I observed now a wide, transparent green orb, pulsing, and beside it a yellow one, and then another and another, dozens of glistening suns flaring all about in the dark waters. […] It had been a burst of incandescence, fleeting, radiant, every punch of light like a note of music.”

The Power dynamics:It is a privileged man who can dispense advice like this: “Well, the main thing is to try not to die. I shall give you some advice on how to best bring that about.” Goff recognizes Wash’s gift and Wash recognizes how unlikely that is: most privileged men cannot see past Wash’s skin colour and visage.

The Conclusion: Visit Marcie’s blog, Buried in Print, for the full review!


Naomi reviews Motherhood

The Style:Hearing someone’s thoughts for pages at a time can start to feel claustrophobic – a whole book that dwells almost entirely on the narrator’s issues, insecurities, questions, anxieties. None of which lend themselves to easy answers. It can feel overwhelming (not to mention self-indulgent). At one point I was questioning my own decision to have kids!

On the other hand, I think a lot of people have these same questions and anxieties, and the thinking in this book is probably something many can relate to.

The Value:The subject matter or the structure of the novel may be up for debate, depending on your tastes and interests, but I think there is value in the author’s examination of society’s view of childless women (or women in general). The pressure on women to have children is still alive and well. We should not still be in this place – where a woman’s greatest value is her reproductive potential.

It seemed to me like all my worrying about not being a mother came down to this history – this implication that a woman is not an end in herself. She is a means to a man, who will grow up to be an end in himself, and do something in the world. While a woman is a passageway through which a man might come.

The Conclusion: Visit my blog, Consumed by Ink, for the full review!


We will be announcing our shadow winner on November 18th, along with links to our reviews of the shortlisted books. The real winner will be announced the evening of November 19th. Stay tuned!


Any hopes or predictions? 


Three From the Shortlist #1

November 1, 2018

I think I can safely say that we are all well underway with our reading, and the shortlisted reviews are starting to pop up. Here are three, one from each of the bloggers among us…


Kim reviews Washington Black

The Good:A dizzying page-turner that takes in scientific polar exploration, the windswept beaches of Nova Scotia, the aristocratic manor houses of 19th century London, the canals of Amsterdam and the deserts of Morocco, this is a true adventure story that brims with menace and tension and love.

The Flawed:But it’s not a perfect novel. There are paradigm shifts, which seem to come out of nowhere and are disorienting for the reader. Some of these shifts feel too far-fetched to be believable and this serves to ruin the perceived authenticity of Wash’s tale. And then, when Titch disappears from the narrative at about the half-way point, suddenly the heart of the story — the mysterious and intriguing relationship between him and Wash — is gone: it’s like taking a cake out of the oven too early so that it collapses.”

The Conclusion: Visit Kim’s blog, Reading Matters, for the full review!


Marcie reviews French Exit

The Ludicrous:Ludicrous and lugubrious, sorrow-soaked and snort-worthy: Patrick deWitt’s novel packs a wallop. You might bite your lip to hold in your laughter, but then consider chewing through it, just to taste the blood, the life beneath the surface of it all.

The Bewildering:It’s also one of those books from which you read lines to your companion and, then, discover, when you look up at them, that the thing that you are feeling is not the thing they are feeling. And, when it comes to describing what you are feeling, that’s when you realise that you’re not even sure what that is. But something you wanted to share.

The Conclusion: Visit Marcie’s blog, Buried in Print, for the full review!


Naomi reviews Songs for the Cold of Heart

The Storied:Songs for the Cold of Heart is made up of stories within stories. Stories that go back to the turn of the 20th century, stories that take place all over the world, stories that dazzle and shock – love, ambition, adventure, betrayal, tragedy, family, home – stories with echos and parallels running through them – teal coloured eyes, bass clef birthmarks, recurring names, paintings of the Virgin’s death, mustachioed Popes – and stories that entertain, each one the antidote to the last.”

The Surprising:This book is not a stranger to surprising, tragic and disturbing events.

The Conclusion: Visit my blog, Consumed by Ink, for the full review!



Have you read any of these? Do you plan to?

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