Annal: 2000 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction

Results of the Governor General's Literary Award in the year 2000.

Book:Anil's Ghost

Anil's Ghost: A Novel

Michael Ondaatje

The time is our own time. The place is Sri Lanka, the island nation formerly known as Ceylon, off the southern tip of India, a country steeped in centuries of cultural achievement and tradition—and forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of civil war and the consequences of a country divided against itself.

Into this maelstrom steps a young woman, Anil Tissera, born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to work with local officials to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island.

Bodies are discovered. Skeletons. And particularly one, nicknamed ‘Sailor.’ What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past—all propelled by a riveting mystery.

Unfolding against the deeply evocative background of Sri Lanka’s landscape and ancient civilization, Anil’s Ghost is a literary spellbinder—the most powerful novel we have yet had from Michael Ondaatje.

Book:The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood takes the art of storytelling to new heights in a dazzling new novel that unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.

For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishments as never before, creating a novel that is entertaining and profoundly serious.

The novel opens with these simple, resonant words: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge.” They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura’s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura’s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a- novel.…[more]

Book:Mercy Among the Children

Mercy Among the Children: A Novel

David Adams Richards

Believing he may have accidentally killed a friend, Sydney Henderson makes a pact with God. If God will spare the boy’s life, Sydney will never again harm another human being.

In the years that follow, the self-educated, brilliant and now almost pathologically gentle Sydney holds true to his promise. Yet others in the small rural community in New Brunswick view Sydney’s pacifism as an opportunity to exploit and torment the defenseless Hendersons. Tragedy strikes when a small boy dies as a result of an act of sabotage and revenge gone horribly wrong. It is a death for which Sydney is blamed. Guilty only of being different, Sydney refuses to defend himself and his family. Raised on the books his father has long collected, Sydney’s son Lyle shares a deep respect for the power of words. But when he is forced to watch his family ridiculed and attacked, Lyle turns his back on God and literature, and adopts an aggressive strategy for…[more]

Book:Monkey Beach

Monkey Beach: A Novel

Eden Robinson

Five hundred miles north of Vancouver is Kitamaat, an Indian reservation in the homeland of the Haisla people. Growing up a tough, wild tomboy, swimming, fighting, and fishing in a remote village where the land slips into the green ocean on the edge of the world, Lisamarie has always been different. Visited by ghosts and shapeshifters, tormented by premonitions, she can’t escape the sense that something terrible is waiting for her. She recounts her enchanted yet scarred life as she journeys in her speedboat up the frigid waters of the Douglas Channel. She is searching for her brother, dead by drowning, and in her own way running as fast as she can toward danger.

Circling her brother’s tragic death are the remarkable characters that make up her family: Lisamarie’s parents, struggling to join their Haisla heritage with Western ways; Uncle Mick, a Native rights activist and devoted Elvis fan; and the headstrong…[more]

Book:The Question

The Question: A novel

Austin Clarke

When a man and a woman meet on a summer day, they begin a conversation that will change both their lives. As their words weave a web of intimacy, the man finds himself drawn into recollections of his childhood on an island in the Caribbean, and to reflections on his life in Toronto. But who is she, this woman he meets at a party? What is behind her dark secrets? What can anyone know about another—really? As their relationship hurtles forward, he gradually finds himself part of a strange triangle of affections, until events escalate, leading to the novel’s dramatic final scenes.

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