Annal: 2010 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction

Results of the Governor General's Literary Award in the year 2010.

Book:Cool Water

Cool Water: A Novel

Dianne Warren

Juliet, Saskatchewan, is a blink-of-an-eye kind of town—the welcome sign announces a population of 1,011 people—and it’s easy to imagine that nothing happens on its hot and dusty streets. Situated on the edge of the Little Snake sand hills, Juliet and its inhabitants are caught in limbo between a century—old promise of prosperity and whatever lies ahead

But the heart of the town beats in the rich and overlapping stories of its people: the foundling who now owns the farm his adoptive family left him; the pregnant teenager and her mother, planning a fairytale wedding; a shy couple, well beyond middle age, struggling with the recognition of their feelings for one another; a camel named Antoinette; and the ubiquitous wind and sand that forever shift the landscape. Their stories bring the prairie desert and the town of Juliet to vivid and enduring life.

This wonderfully entertaining, witty and deeply felt novel brims with forgiveness as its flawed people stumble towards the future.

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:Motorcycles & Sweetgrass

Motorcycles & Sweetgrass: A Novel

Drew Hayden Taylor

A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger…and a band of marauding raccoons.

Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle—and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve’s chief, is swept off her feet, but Virgil, her teenage son, is less than enchanted. Suspicious of the stranger’s intentions, he teams up with his uncle Wayne—a master of aboriginal martial arts—to drive the stranger from the Reserve. And it turns out that the raccoons are willing to lend a hand.

Book:Room (Emma Donoghue)

Room: A Novel

Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Book:Waiting for Joe

Waiting for Joe: A Novel

Sandra Birdsell

After you’ve lost it all—job, house, savings, future—what have you got left? A piercing new novel of our times by one of Canada’s finest fiction writers.

On a chilly early morning in late spring, Joe Beaudry and his wife, Laurie, wake up in circumstances that would challenge saints: they are on the lam in a stolen motorhome on the edge of a Walmart parking lot in Regina, Saskatchewan. They’ve gone bust, spectacularly: lost the house that was Joe’s gift from his dad, lost the business Joe started when he got married, and stuck his ancient father in a nursing home in Winnipeg so they could flee their creditors. Joe knows the reality of the situation, and is trying to raise enough cash to get them both to Fort McMurray where he hopes he can find work. But Laurie, even though she watched Joe trash their high-end appliances with a sledgehammer when the yard sale didn’t deliver enough cash, somehow thinks it’s…[more]

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