Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Thoughts on the Giller Prize Longlist

Today the longlist for the Scotiabank Giller prize was announced and it is a very interesting list! Stephen Beattie wrote a good summary of the group on the Quill and Quire blog here.

I've only read two of them so far, and both were outstanding: Daydreams of Angels by Heather O'Neill and Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis. Don't I wish that I had been keeping up with my reviewing and had already written about these! (My review of O'Neill's charming The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is here)
The one that I'm most excited about reading next is Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt. If I had not already been hooked by my love for the black comedy in deWitt's The Sisters Brothers, I would have picked this up based solely on its description as a fable without a moral. I intend to read this before hearing deWitt speak at the Vancouver Writers Fest on October 23.

The next two that I plan to read (before the shortlist announcement on October 5) are by Rachel Cusk and Connie Gault. I haven't read either of these authors before. Their respective settings are enough to interest me: Gault's A Beauty is set in the prairies in 1930, and Cusk's Outline is set in a writing class in Athens.

Marina Endicott's Close to Hugh has an art gallery setting, a large cast of artistic characters, and a one-week time frame, all of which sounds appealing. I'm a bit hesitant to pick it up, however, because I experienced a slog with her last book. I was 250 pages into The Little Shadows before I cared about what would happen. I admired The Little Shadows once I was done, but I'm not sure I'm up to the time commitment required for another long book by Endicott. I'll be hearing her at a couple of different events at the Vancouver Writers Fest and that may be all it takes to get me excited about picking up Close to Hugh.

It's unlikely that I'll read All True, Not a Lie in It by Alix Hawley, which is about Daniel Boone, because I've already given it a try and quit after a few chapters. It was okay, but didn't really grab me. I definitely do not want to get into the mind of a sexual deviant, so I will avoid Martin John by Anakana Schofield, no matter how good everyone says it is.

Check out more about these and the rest of the list on the CBC Books site.

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