Annal: 2005 Giller Prize for Fiction

Results of the Giller Prize in the year 2005.

Book:The Time in Between

The Time in Between: A Novel

David Bergen

In search of love, absolution, or forgiveness, Charles Boatman leaves B.C. and returns mysteriously to the country where he fought twenty-eight years earlier as a young, reluctant soldier. But his new encounters seem irreconcilable with his memories.

When their father disappears, Ada and her brother, Jon, travel to Danang, Vietnam, to find him. Their quest takes them into the heart of a world that is at once incomprehensible, impassive, and beautiful. Chasing her father’s shadow for weeks, following slim leads, Ada feels increasingly hopeless. Yet while Jon slips into the urban nightlife to avoid what he most fears, Ada soon grows closer than ever to her missing father—and strong enough to forgive him and to bear the truth of his long-kept secret.

Bergen’s marvellously drawn characters include Lieutenant Dat, the police officer who tries to seduce Ada by withholding information; Elaine Gouds, the troubled wife of a self-styled American missionary who lives within the expatriate community in…[more]

Book:Alligator

Alligator: A Novel

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore’s Alligator gives dramatic birth to a new kind of fiction: North Atlantic Gothic. The story moves with the swiftness of a gator in attack mode through the lives of a group of brilliantly rendered characters in contemporary St. John’s, Newfoundland—a city whose spiritual location is somewhere in the heart of Flannery O’Connor country. Its denizens jostle each other in uneasy arabesques of desire, greed, lust, and ambition, juxtaposed with a yearning for purity, depth, and redemption.

Meet Madeleine, the driven aging filmmaker whose mission is to complete a Bergmanesque magnum opus before she dies; Frank, a young man of innocence and determination whose life is a strange anthology of unpredictable dangers; Valentin, the sociopathic Russian refugee whose predatory tendencies threaten everyone he encounters; and Colleen, at seventeen a hard-edged female Holden…[more]

Book:Luck

Luck: A Novel

Joan Barfoot

Nora, an artist, wakes up one morning to discover that her husband, lying beside her, has died in the night. Naturally, she screams. Beth, Nora’s ethereal artist’s model, and Sophie, the housekeeper, who also live in the big house on the hill, come rushing.

Such startling, terrible things do happen, and Philip’s silent demise is bound to have dramatic effects. The abruptly widowed Nora, whose recent works of biblical art have caused a fundamentalist furor in the town where they live, is unexpectedly confronted by solo life in a place she despises. Beth faces losing a haven from her own shocking history, while Sophie, a former overseas aid volunteer traumatized by the experience, has her own secret griefs to contend with.

Luck follows the days immediately after Philip’s death as the women career through circumstances none of them could have expected, under the big hovering question: Now what?

Book:Sweetness in the Belly

Sweetness in the Belly

Camilla Gibb

When Lilly is eight years old, her pot-smoking hippie British parents leave her at a Sufi shrine in Morocco and inform her they will be back to collect her in three days. Three weeks later, she learns they’ve been murdered. Lilly fills that haunted hollow in her life with intense study and memorization of the Qur’an under the patient care of the Sufi saint’s disciple she was entrusted to. Years later, her journey from Morocco to Harar, Ethiopia, is half pilgrimage, half flight. In Harar, even her very traditional Muslim head scarves cannot hide her white skin in her new and strange surroundings; the word “farenji”—foreigner—is hissed at her everywhere she turns. She eventually builds a life for herself teaching children the Qur’an, and she finds herself falling in love with an idealistic young doctor. But the two are wrenched apart when Lilly is again forced to flee, for her safety and his, this time to London. Despite her British roots, Lilly discovers she is as much an outsider in London as a Muslim…[more]

Book:A Wall of Light

A Wall of Light: A Novel

Edeet Ravel

“I am Sonya Vronsky, professor of mathematics at Tel Aviv University, and this is the story of a day in late August. On this remarkable day I kissed a student, pursued a lover, found my father, and left my brother.” So begins Edeet Ravel’s captivating novel, which follows Sonya on a life-changing journey that leads her to the heart of Jerusalem, and to the heart of family secrets.

Her day begins as any other, with an elaborate breakfast prepared by her brother. Kostya has always been the centre of their family, working part-time so he can look after everyone and trying to keep things in order—a near-impossible task in a place like Tel Aviv. His wife, a lawyer, is murdered in the course of an investigation she is conducting. His son, Noah, leaves Israel after his stint in the army to pursue art studies in Berlin. And his mother, formerly an actress and waitress at the famous Cassit…[more]

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