Annal: 2010 Giller Prize for Fiction

Results of the Giller Prize in the year 2010.

Book:The Sentimentalists

The Sentimentalists: A Novel

Johanna Skibsrud

Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel connects the flooding of an Ontario town, the Vietnam War, a trailer in North Dakota and an unfinished boat in Maine. Parsing family history, worn childhood memories, and the palimpsest of old misunderstandings, Skibsrud’s narrator maps her father’s past.

Napoleon Haskell lives with Henry in the town of Casablanca, Ontario, on the shores of a man-made lake beneath which lie the remains of the former town. Henry is the father of Napoleon’s friend Owen, who died fighting in Vietnam. When her life comes apart, Napoleon’s daughter retreats to Casablanca and is soon immersed in the complicated family stories that lurk below the surface of everyday life. With its quiet mullings and lines from Bogart, The Sentimentalists captures a daughter’s wrestling with a heady family mythology. …[more]

Book:Annabel (Kathleen Winter)

Annabel: A Novel

Kathleen Winter

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret—the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows to adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self—a girl he thinks of as Annabel—is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life.

Haunting, sweeping in scope, and stylistically reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, Annabel is a compelling debut novel about one person’s struggle to discover the truth in a culture that shuns contradiction.

Book:Light Lifting: Stories

Light Lifting: Stories

Alexander MacLeod

He can see it when she turns. A tremor moving through, the crack in this hard performance. Her cheeks flush and he watches the anger and frustration mix with something else he can recognize. There are things we must allow each other that have nothing to do with kindness.
—from “The Number Three”

Light Lifting, Alexander MacLeod’s long-awaited first collection of short fiction, offers us a suite of darkly urban and unflinching elegies. These are elemental stories of work and its bonds, of tragedy and tragedy barely averted, but also of beauty, love and fragile understanding.

Book:The Matter with Morris

The Matter with Morris

David Bergen

When Morris Schutt, a prominent newspaper columnist, surveys his life over the past year, he sees disaster everywhere. His son has just been killed in Afghanistan, and his newspaper has put him on indefinite leave; his psychiatrist wife, Lucille, seems headed for the door; he is strongly attracted to Ursula, the wife of a dairy farmer from Minnesota; and his daughter appears to be having an affair with one of her professors.

What is a thinking man to do but turn to Cicero and Plato and Socrates in search of the truth? Or better still, call one of those discreet “dating services” in search of happiness? But happiness, as Morris discovers, is not that easy to find.

David Bergen’s most accomplished novel yet is an unforgettable story with a vitality and charm and intelligence all its own. Bergen proves once again that he is one of our finest writers, dazzling us with his wit and touching us with his compassion.

Book:This Cake Is for the Party

This Cake Is for the Party: Stories

Sarah Selecky

Sarah Selecky’s first book takes dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed.

These are stories about friendships and relationships confused by unsettling tensions bubbling beneath the surface. A woman who plans to conceive ends up in the arms of her husband’s best friend; a man who baby-sits a neglected four-year-old ends up questioning his own dysfunctional relationship; a chance encounter at a gala event causes a woman to remember when she volunteered for a nightmarish drug-testing clinic; another woman discovers that her best friend who is about to get married has just had an affair; a young teenager tries to escape from her controlling father and finds an unexpected lover on a bus ride home; a wife tries to overcome her dying mother-in-law’s resistance to her marriage by revealing to her own strange aural stigmata; a friend tries…[more]

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