Canadian Books on the International Dublin Award Longlist 2017

This year there are 15 Canadian books on the International Dublin Award Longlist, and I was surprised to see that I have read many of them. So, here’s a little round-up…

10 Canadian books on the list that I’ve read and reviewed: 

(Click on the book titles to see my reviews.)


Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis – winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood –  previous nominations for this award include The Blind Assassin (2002), The Penelopiad (2007) and The Year of the Flood (2011)

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie – longlisted for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize


The Birthday Lunch by Joan Clark – An Audience of Chairs was nominated for this award in 2006.

The Devil You Know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill – 2016 Canada Reads winner, The Book of Negroes was longlisted for the IMPAC in 2008.


Birdie by Tracey Lindberg – 2016 Canada Reads contender

A Measure of Light by Beth Powning – winner of the New Brunswick Book Award 2015

The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel – 2016 Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award


Ledger of the Open Hand by Leslie Vryenhoek – Finalist for the 2016 Winterset Award

5 Canadian books on the list I haven’t read:


Inside the Black Horse by Ray Berard – a review at Australian Crime Fiction (thanks, Lisa!)

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt – review at Reading in Bed

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys – review at Rosemary and Reading Glasses


Duke by Sara Tilley – winner of the 2016 Winterset Award – review by Chad Pelley in The Overcast

The Orange Grove by Larry Tremblay – review by Arielle Aaronson at Québec Reads

4 non-Canadian books I’ve read from the list:


Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor

Most excited about: A Measure of Light and Ledger of the Open Hand.

Have you read any of these? Any thoughts on the list? Books that should have been included, but weren’t? Books that shouldn’t have been included, but were?

For another review round-up, check out Kim’s list at Reading Matters where you’ll find several Irish and Australian book reviews from the Award list.

33 thoughts on “Canadian Books on the International Dublin Award Longlist 2017

    • Naomi says:

      I was surprised I had read so many – I don’t think this usually happens. It might be partly because there are a higher number of Canadian books on the list than usual.
      I’m pretty sure if this was a list of children’s books, we’d be in opposite positions. 🙂

  1. lauratfrey says:

    Thanks for linking to my review! There’s no way UMDM will win lol. It’s too weird. But you know, is one of the most perfect endings I’ve ever read. You are impressive in how many you’ve read and reviewed! Off to catch up…

    • Naomi says:

      This isn’t usual for me (I’m pretty sure!). I’m thinking that it’s partly because there’s a higher # of CanLit on the list this year.
      I’ve been on the fence about UMDM, but now you’ve got me curious about the ending!

  2. JacquiWine says:

    One of the things I like about this prize is the sheer diversity of the list of nominees. It’s always such a broad spectrum of styles and genres. There’s probably something for everyone here.

  3. susanosborne55 says:

    I love this list, always huge an meandering with lots of reminders of books published quite a while ago. Only sorry not to see Kim Echlin’s Under the Visible Life ranked among the Canadians.

  4. Rebecca Foster says:

    Such a long and varied list! I’ve read 31 of these. Considering the criterion was “Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library,” I was surprised to see The Girl on the Train on there!!

    • Naomi says:

      31 is impressive! But not surprising. 🙂
      I was surprised to see that one on there, too, but I guess it’s been pretty popular. And I’m reading it right now for my RL book club. and the writing’s not bad!

  5. BuntyMcC says:

    Helen Humphries goes on my TBR list; I love her style. Also A Measure of Light, because it’s Maritime. I still haven’t gotten to 15 dogs though I have it. The only one I’ve read is Our Endless Numbered Days and I had a huge problem with the ending and somewhat with the whole premise.

      • BuntyMcC says:

        Most of our quibbles were on belief. Unlike theatre, I don’t expect to willingly suspend disbelief when I read a novel – unless it is obviously fantasy or science fiction. (Hmm, just realized that I don’t read either genre!) Our book club had a couple of musicians who didn’t think the soundless piano was believable – that he made it yes, that she learned to play a difficult piece using it, no. The girl was only 8, my granddaughter is 8. I can’t imagine her being as intellectually sophisticated (at the beginning) as this child is. We also found it hard to believe that they had not been found in nine years. His friends held clues; did the mother not care? who was looking? What about the police? Nowhere in Europe is that isolated – at least nowhere within shouting distance of a river.

      • Naomi says:

        Oh, the things that get dissected when you have a group discussing the book! I hadn’t thought about the fact that the father’s friends should have had enough clues about where he might be. The piano was really cool, but I do remember thinking it seemed far-fetched that she would actually be able to learn a complicated piece of music on it. But I just thought, “you never know…”
        I’m reading her newest book right now (it’ll be out at the end of January) – now I’ll be looking for little cracks in the story. But I’ll be honest – I’m not very good at seeing them myself. I also overlook them purposely when I’m enjoying a story enough that it doesn’t matter to me if there are flaws. 🙂
        Thanks for taking the time to get back to me on that!

  6. kimbofo says:

    Thanks for linking to my post. Your list has prompted me to seek out a few more Canadian books to read come years’ end when my Reading Australia project is over.

      • kimbofo says:

        Oh loads of them! 😉 But especially Ledger of the Open Hand by Leslie Vryenhoek (the cover is lovely), though sadly it’s only available in Kindle here and is hugely expensive. Perhaps at some point it will get published in the UK. I also like the sound of the Birthday Lunch (another one not available here), Birdie (which is available, yay!) and A Measure of Light (also available).

  7. Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I’ve read only Our Endless Numbered Days although I should have read at least the Michael Christie and the Joan Clark by now. Many authors that I’ve read and enjoyed, so what’s my problem, I wonder? I did reserve Ledger of the Open Hand at the library earlier this week!

    Thanks so much for reveiwing that huge list and pointing out so many Canadian titles!

    • Naomi says:

      I’m usually in the same boat as you – This is the first time I’ve put a list like this together because usually I haven’t read enough of the books to bother. I just picked the right ones this year, I guess!
      I’ll be curious to know what you think of Ledger after you read it!

  8. FictionFan says:

    You’ve done brilliantly! I fear I’ve only read two on the entire longlist – The Blue Guitar by John Banville and Salman Rushdie’s Two Years etc – both excellent – though I have abandoned another two which shall remain nameless! It’s an incredibly long longlist, isn’t it?

    • Naomi says:

      So long! I don’t know how they’re able to come up with it and then have to narrow it down – it seems like an impossible task (but well worth it, of course!).

  9. The Cue Card says:

    Some of these books seem a couple years old. Are they just getting to Dublin? These all look good. I’ve read Fates & Furies which is a doozy. Perhaps too dark to like too much.

    • Naomi says:

      The qualification dates for this award are not as recent as others, which is kind of nice – it reminds me of some great books I haven’t read yet!

  10. carolebesharah says:

    I have read several of the books on your list. Here are the two stand-outs, in my view:

    I thought Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt was an exquisitely clever, dark fairly tale. Vivid imagery and description. It was like a Wes Anderson film, in my head. I laughed out loud so many times.

    Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum gutted me. Gorgeous in every way: language, rawness, spiraling momentum. The best I have read in years!

    Thanks for sharing! I has missed a few of these reviews. Will check them out for holiday reading ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s