Results of the Giller Prize in the year 1995.
With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers—a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village—will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.
As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.
Ross, “Buddy” Wheeler, father of Howard, never won the Stanley Cup. Called up from a small-town farm team, he saw his moment of fame skate by in a fleeting four-game stint with the 1930’s Montreal Maroons. Grace Wheeler, mother of Howard and tight-lipped teacher, could never abide Buddy’s carousing and the childish games he insisted on pursuing.
Howard, now firmly entrenched in middle age and the survivor of both a coronary and his parents’ failed dreams, needs to understand what has happened in order to cast a net around his own scattered fragments of longing and loss.
Set in small-town Ontario and spanning three generations, Richard B. Wright’s acclaimed novel of Howard Wheeler’s search for self-understanding is a journey through the past, both real and imagined, a brilliant gathering-together of the many threads of emotional inheritance that make up life.
These superb stories are startling and often disturbing, filled with complexity and power. McKay portrays characters with astonishing depth and dead-on emotional rightness. The world is not fair in these stories. There is pain, abuse, solitude; but somehow there is also hope.
Barbara Gowdy’s outrageous, hilarious, disturbing, and compassionate novel is about the Canary family, their immoderate passions and eccentricities, and their secret lives and histories. The deepest secret of all is harbored in the silence of the youngest daughter, Joan, who doesn’t grow, who doesn’t speak, but who can play the piano like Mozart though she’s never had a lesson. Joan is a mystery, and in the novel’s stunning climax her family comes to understand that each of them is a mystery, as marvelous as Joan, as irreducible as the mystery of life itself. In its compassionate investigation of moral truths and its bold embrace of the fractured nature of every one of its characters, Mister Sandman attains the heightened quality of a modern-day parable.
Narrated by Charlie Kilworth, whose birth is an echo of his mother’s own illegitimate beginnings, The Piano Man’s Daughter is the lyrical, multilayered tale of Charlie’s mother, Lily, his grandmother Ede, and their family. Lily is a woman pursued by her own demons, “making off with the matches just when the fires caught hold,” “a beautiful, mad genius, first introduced to us singing in her mother’s belly.” It is also the tale of people who dream in songs, two Irish immigrant families facing a new and uncertain future in turn-of-the-century Toronto. Finally, it is a richly detailed tribute to a golden epoch in our history and of a generation striking the last, haunting chord of innocence.
The Piano Man’s Daughter is a symphony of wonderful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and a lilting, lingering melody that plays on long after the last page has been turned.