Annal: 2009 Giller Prize for Fiction

Results of the Giller Prize in the year 2009.

Book:The Bishop's Man

The Bishop's Man: A Novel

Linden MacIntyre

From an award-winning writer and one of Canada’s foremost broadcast journalists, comes a deeply wise and moving novel that explores the guilty minds and spiritual evasions of Catholic priests.

Father Duncan MacAskill has spent most of his priesthood as the “Exorcist”—an enforcer employed by his bishop to discipline wayward priests and suppress potential scandal. He knows all the devious ways that lonely priests persuade themselves that their needs trump their vows, but he’s about to be sorely tested himself. While sequestered by his bishop in a small rural parish to avoid an impending public controversy, Duncan must confront the consequences of past cover-ups and the suppression of his own human needs. Pushed to the breaking point by loneliness, tragedy and sudden self-knowledge, Duncan discovers how hidden obsessions and guilty secrets either find their way to the light of understanding, or poison any chance we have for love and spiritual peace.

Book:The Disappeared

The Disappeared

Kim Echlin

After more than 30 years Anne Greves feels compelled to break her silence about her first lover, and a treacherous pursuit across Cambodia’s killing fields.

Once she was a motherless girl from taciturn immigrant stock. Defying fierce opposition, she falls in love with Serey, a gentle rebel and exiled musician. She’s still only 16 when he leaves her in their Montreal flat to return to Cambodia and, after a decade without word, she abandons everything to search for him in the bars of Phnom Penh, a city traumatized by the Khmer Rouge slaughter. Against all odds the lovers are reunited, and in a political country where tranquil rice paddies harbour the bones of the massacred, Anne pieces together a new life with Serey. But there are wounds that love cannot heal, and some mysteries too dangerous to know. And when Serey disappears again, Anne discovers a story she cannot bear.

Haunting, vivid, elegiac, The Disappeared is a tour de force; at once a battle cry and a piercing lamentation, for truth, for love.

Book:Fall (Colin McAdam)

Fall

Colin McAdam

From an internationally acclaimed, prizewinning author, whom critics have compared to Dave Eggers and Michael Ondaatje, comes a tour de force: a mesmerizing novel that is at once a spellbinding psychological thriller and a brilliant portrait of adolescence that goes deep into the heads of two very different boys.

Awkward Noel thinks he’s been allowed into the inner circle of his elite boarding school when he discovers his senior-year roommate is to be handsome, athletic Julius. Julius, in turn, cares only for the fleeting joys of teenage life: sneaking out to parties, playing pranks with friends, and most of all, spending the night with his girfriend, Fall. As Noel narrates this fateful semester from a perspective of many years, interwoven is Julius’s own in-the-moment experiences of first love and male camaraderie. …[more]

Book:The Golden Mean

The Golden Mean: A Novel

Annabel Lyon

What would it have been like to sit at the feet of the legendary philosopher Aristotle? Even more intriguing, what would it have been like to witness Aristotle instructing the most famous of his pupils, the young Alexander the Great?

In her first novel, acclaimed fiction writer Annabel Lyon boldly imagines one of history’s most intriguing relationships and the war at its heart between ideas and action as a way of knowing the world.

As The Golden Mean opens, Aristotle is forced to postpone his dream of succeeding Plato as the leader of the Academy in Athens when Philip of Macedon asks him to stay on in his capital city of Pella to tutor his precocious son, Alexander. At first the philosopher is appalled to be stuck in the brutal backwater of his childhood, but he is soon drawn to the boy’s intellectual potential and his capacity for surprise. What he does not know is whether his ideas are any match for the warrior culture…[more]

Book:The Winter Vault

The Winter Vault: A Novel

Anne Michaels

Award-winning poet and novelist Anne Michaels gives us a love story of extraordinary depth and complexity, a mesmerizing tale that juxtaposes historical events with the most intimate moments of individual lives.

In 1964, a newly married Canadian couple settles into a Nile River houseboat moored below the towering figures of Abu Simbel. Avery is one of the engineers responsible for the dismantling and reconstruction of the temple as it’s rescued from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam. He is a “machine-worshipper,” yet exquisitely sensitive to the dichotomy of creation and destruction of which machines are capable. Jean is a botanist by avocation and passion, interested in everything that grows. They had met on the banks of the St. Lawrence River and watched together as the construction of the seaway changed the course of the river and swallowed towns, homes, lives. Now, at the edge of another world about to be lost forever, Avery and Jean create their own world,…[more]

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