It’s been an exciting week for literary fiction. First up was the announcement of The Scotiabank Giller Prize’s 2015 longlist. The list features twelve titles, and includes fantastic authors like Heather O’Neill (who read at this year’s North Shore Writers Fest). With the shortlist being announced on October 5, only the most dedicated Canadian fiction fans will have time to tackle all twelve titles in time. (Is it just me who spends an inordinate amount of energy ghost judging literary awards?) If you only read a few, here’s what I recommend:
Get to know the main character of Outline, not through her actions, but for the things people confide in her. The novel is told in ten conversations. If the concept doesn’t grab you, it’s worth reading for the writing alone.
I enjoy historical fiction about the New World. In Hawley’s debut novel she invites us into the man (and myth) of Daniel Boone (of whom I must confess I know nothing). Author Alexei Zentner raves, “Alix Hawley’s debut novel is audacious and bold, like an early Ondaatje, with writing that is luscious, lyrical, and bloodthirsty.”
A foreboding castle. A colourful cast of villagers. A dark secret. A beguiling beauty. Welcome to Patrick deWitt’s world.
And then this morning the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize was announced. I’d read only two titles on the longlist (Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, and Lalami’s The Moor’s Account) and was really hoping to see the latter make the cut. Sadly, it didn’t, which only makes me more interested to get to know the titles that bested it. My husband, has already read three of the shortlist and recommends:
First off, there are way more than seven killings in this violent novel about a turbulent time in Jamaican history. Second, it clearly evokes a sense of place and character. Third, it’s HUGE, which is always an appealing quality in a fall read, no?
See how anguished the guy on the cover looks? Apparently the whole book is like that. The whole book. All 720 excruciatingly beautifully written pages of that level of pain.
What about you? Are you excited for awards season? Do you try and read the longlists, shortlists, or do you wait for the winner to be announced? Sound off in the comments.