Annal: 1994 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction

Results of the Governor General's Literary Award in the year 1994.

Book:A Discovery Of Strangers

A Discovery Of Strangers

Rudy Wiebe

A Discovery of Strangers tells of the meeting of two civilizations—the first encounter of the nomadic Dene people with Europeans—in an imaginative reconstruction of John Franklin’s first map-making expedition in 1819—21 in what is now the Northwest Territories. At the heart of the novel is a love story between twenty-two-year-old midshipman Robert Hood, the Franklin expedition’s artist, and a fifteen-year-old Yellowknife girl known to the British as Greenstockings. A national bestseller, published also in Germany and China, Wiebe’s first novel in eleven years and his twelfth work of fiction won him his second Governor General’s Award for Fiction at the age of sixty, over strong competition from Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.

It is a story of love, murder, greed and passion in an unforgiving Arctic landscape. French-Canadian voyageurs paddle the small British expedition into the land of the Yellowknives to search for the fabled Northwest Passage. While this trip would not…[more]

Book:Division of Surgery

Division of Surgery

Donna McFarlane

Honest and poignant, Division of Surgery is an essential novel tracing one woman’s journey through and beyond her experience of inflammatory Bowel Disease—a disease chronically painful and potentially fatal. This carefully written narrative confronts harsh pain with biting wit and carries the reader to a quiet, life-affirming respect for the protagonist.

Book:How Insensitive

How Insensitive: A novel

Russell Smith

Adrift in Toronto’s gossipy, grant-driven cultural scene, a coterie of overeducated, underemployed young people stab at vaguely artistic projects and scramble after the opportunities that seem tantalizingly within reach—if you know the right people. Searching for work, sex and big-city life is Ted Owen, who quickly finds himself swept into the complicated lives of the young and the jaded, people who thrive in a strange world of hip fashion and surreal night-clubs.

Book:Open Secrets

Open Secrets: Stories

Alice Munro

In these eight tales, Munro evokes the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected. She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia. And Munro shows us how one woman’s romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present-day Canada.

Open Secrets is a book that dazzles with its faith in language and in life.” —New York Times Book Review

Book:The Robber Bride

The Robber Bride

Margaret Atwood

Exploring the paradox of female villainy, this tale of three fascinating women is another peerless display of literary virtuosity by the supremely gifted author of Cat’s Eye and The Handmaid’s Tale. Roz, Charis and Tony all share a wound, and her name is Zenia. Beautiful, smart and hungry, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless, Zenia is the turbulent center of her own perpetual saga. She entered their lives in the sixties, when they were in college. Over the three decades since, she has damaged each of them badly, ensnaring their sympathy, betraying their trust, and treating their men as loot. Then Zenia dies, or at any rate the three women—with much relief—attend her funeral. But as The Robber Bride begins, Roz, Charis and Tony have come together at a trendy restaraunt for their monthly lunch when in walks the seemingly resurrected Zenia…

In this consistently entertaining and profound new novel, Margaret Atwood reports from the farthest reaches of the war between the sexes with her characteristic well-crafted prose, rich and devious humor, and compassion.

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