Annal: 1995 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction

Results of the Governor General's Literary Award in the year 1995.

Book:The Roaring Girl

The Roaring Girl: Stories

Greg Hollingshead

Erudite yet immediate, the dozen stories that make up this collection from Canadian writer Greg Hollingshead are set in the familiar urban and suburban worlds of everyday life. With a deceptively simple prose, a sharp ear for dialogue and the telling moments of existence, and a skewed sense of humor, Hollingshead peels back the surface to reveal the psychological terrors and injuries that inform his characters. The Roaring Girl, the author’s first book to be published in the United States, was a bestseller in Canada, where it won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 1995, putting him in the company of Canadian writers such as Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood.

Book:The Age of Longing

The Age of Longing: A novel

Richard B. Wright

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.

Book:Highways and Dancehalls

Highways and Dancehalls: A Novel

Diana Atkinson

This is a startling novel—as much for the power and beauty of the writing as for its vivid, searing tale of life on the road as a stripper in Canada.

Sarah is the product of a university family that blew angrily apart and the survivor of a childhood disease that meant lonely years spent in the grip of an insensitive medical establishment. Now, scarred in more ways than one, she is a seventeen-year-old high school dropout trying to make a living in the recession. Prospects are dim, and soon she is “Tabitha,” heading out on the circuit of motels and strip-bars through the mining towns and suburbs of a seemingly bucolic West Coast.

On-stage, dressed in elaborate costumes, she offers a vision of a sex and beauty. Off-stage, she tries to befriend the bikers and strippers and populate her life on the road, but friendships are fleeting when home is a Greyhound bus or a room behind…[more]

Book:The Jaguar Temple and Other Stories

The Jaguar Temple and Other Stories

Julie Keith

In Julie Keith’s assured and accomplished debut collection, The Jaguar Temple, travel means change and liberation. But travel is also danger, whether it’s a journey into an uncertain future or a return to an escaped past. In Hong Kong we plunge into the world of the corporate wife whose marriage has been in trouble longer than she cares to admit. In the jungles of Mexico, machine-gun fire punctuates the speeches of politicians anxious to impress foreign investors. Along the way we stop in Geneva, Boston and Montreal, where other characters find themselves stepping beyond the familiar and abandoning the borders of propriety.

Book:Mister Sandman

Mister Sandman: A Novel

Barbara Gowdy

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.

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