Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist 2019

The Giller Prize shortlist is out! The Shadow Jury will be reading and reviewing these books over the next 6 weeks, and will be choosing a shadow winner a few days before the official Giller Prize announcement on November 18th.

Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis, published by HarperCollins

Jury’s Thoughts:Bezmozgis has reimagined immigrant lives not simply as marked by displacement and discontinuity, but of immigration as a shared and binding experience...”

My Thoughts: I hope these stories are good enough to ease my disappointment that Late Breaking is not on this list.

My Review

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles, published by House of Anansi Press

Jury’s Thoughts: “...this is not your traditional Newfoundland novel of social isolation.”

My Thoughts: I loved Coles’ short story collection Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, so I have high hopes for this one. (And I’m happy to see two Atlantic Canadians on this list!)

My Review

The Innocents by Michael Crummey, published by Doubleday Canada

Jury’s Thoughts:Crummey’s novel has the capacity to change the way the reader sees the world.” (Oooo….)

My Thoughts: I have loved everything I’ve read by Michael Crummey. Can he live up to his past masterpieces? I have every confidence that he can. Go Michael!

My Review Coming Soon!

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin, published by House of Anansi Press

Jury’s Thoughts:Alix Ohlin’s novel, true to its title, quietly refutes monolithic tenets that regard identity as something fixed and singular.”

My Thoughts: I don’t know what to expect from this novel. All I have to go on is the fact that I enjoyed her last novel, Inside.

My Review

Lampedusa by Steven Price, published by McClelland & Stewart

Jury’s Thoughts: “...the novel contemplates what values are worth retaining in life and in art.”

My Thoughts: I’m thinking he and Esi have a good thing going right now with this Giller Prize business.

My Review

Reproduction by Ian Williams, published by Random House Canada

Jury’s Thoughts:It’s an engrossing story of disparate people brought together and also a masterful unfolding of unexpected connections and collisions between and across lives otherwise separated by race, class, gender and geography.”

My Thoughts: I’ve been intrigued by this book since it came out, so I’m glad to have the nudge to read it. I’m about a hundred pages in right now, and have no idea where it’s going to take me.

My Review


Have you read any of these? Are there any here that you think shouldn’t be? Any that should be, but aren’t? Surprised not to see Atwood? Thoughts? Predictions?

29 thoughts on “Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist 2019

  1. Penny says:

    Of all of these Lampedusa and the innocents are the strongest. Well, in my opinion. 🙂 🙂 I think it will be Crummey for the win. His feels distinctly Canadian and is Classic Crummey. But I don’t know if that’s what the Giller is looking for – the Canadian-ess? Lampedusa is a beautifully written novel – you have to read slowly, the writing and style kind of demands it. I really enjoyed that one. Very different kind of feel from Crummey’s. The rest I didn’t feel for at all. Unfortunately. 😦

    I was disappointed not to see Michael Christie’s Greenwood on here, but I haven’t read it yet, it’s just one that I’m very eager to read. 🙂

    I still have to read Late Breaking and was happy to see it make the GG Books list! (But still so sad that The Difference – Marina Endicott’s – is found nowhere on any of these award lists. What a bummer! I absolutely loved it!)

    • Naomi says:

      I was kind of hoping to see The Difference on the GG list, too, but was happy to see Late Breaking there. Michael Crummey has his book on all three lists – I’m hoping he’ll get at least one of them!

    • Naomi says:

      Having heard of them all is impressive in itself, I think!
      I love the cover of Reproduction, but felt intimidated by it for some reason – now I’m more than halfway through, and can tell you that there’s no need to feel intimidated. So far, I’m enjoying it! But who knows how it will end… anything could happen!

  2. Rebecca Foster says:

    I’ve read one — amazing! Though I can’t say I thought it was great (Dual Citizens). I imagine you’ll be reading The Testaments even though it wasn’t shortlisted? I will eagerly await your reviews. One of these days I will actually read something by Crummey…

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, I’ll be reading The Testaments – just not as soon as I thought I would be. But soon!
      I’m pretty curious about Dual Citizens – you’re not the first I’ve heard say that.

  3. Karissa says:

    I liked Dual Citizens but wasn’t blown away. Same with Immigrant City. I read it right after Late Breaking and, honestly, thought Late Breaking was the stronger collection. I liked Lampedusa a lot but I can also see why others might not. And I know it shouldn’t matter that Esi won last year but it seems like it sort of works against him! As a West Coaster, I feel like I’ve never quite “got” Crummey’s work but I’m going to try again with The Innocents.

    • Naomi says:

      That’s interesting to hear – that it could be where you’re from that prevents you from getting into his books more. But I can see that – his books are very Newfoundland-y! Now I’m extra curious to hear what you think of The Innocents.
      I LOVED Late Breaking, and was so happy to see that it made the GGs!

      • Karissa says:

        Yes, I don’t find that with all books set in different places but Crummey’s books really are Newfoundland-y, as you say! There is so much description of the land and it’s beautifully written but so different than the Canada I know.

  4. Lisa Hill says:

    I like the title of Small Game Hunting…
    Re Atwood, not eligible because it’s only just been published,i.e. they have a cut-off publication date for entries? Whatever, I am pleased not to see it here. There’s quite enough hype about it already!

    • Naomi says:

      Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time. I’ve heard the Dual Citizens has made its way over. And Crummey should too, based on the popularity of his last book.

  5. annelogan17 says:

    So I found out I’m defending Megan Coles book at the Giller Light party, which means I get to read it, and am really looking forward to it! I heard Crummey’s book is amazing, haven’t read it yet…

  6. The Cue Card says:

    I haven’t read these books yet but I have to go with Crummey to win the Giller hands down! I will be reading his book before Nov. 18 and I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. I liked his book Sweetland so I’m ready for this one.

    • buriedinprint says:

      I thought of Sweetland often while reading this book, with age and youth seeming to be bookends in these two stories. Will be curious to hear what you think!

  7. buriedinprint says:

    Late Breaking is probably going to be on my list of favourite reads for this year too. And I haven’t finished the rest of the shortlist – so I’m not sure if I will change my opinion on this or not – but I’m thinking that the jury seems to be rather craft oriented, as concerned about how a story is being told as with the story itself.

    So in that sense, I wonder if Late Breaking was a little more traditional than what they were looking for? I mean, I love linked stories, but it’s not as adventurous a technique as, say, what Williams is up to with Reproduction, would you say?

    Anyhow, as your fellow Shadow Reader, you know I’m going to read all of these and then some. But I’m not done yet. In fact, I’ve just read a little more than half the longlist – just enough to think that I should add up the page numbers and see how many more remain between today and the announcement!

    • Naomi says:

      I’m curious to know whether I will be changing my mind about it, as well. So far, I haven’t, but I still have 3.5 more books to go!

      I’d say you’re right about it not being as adventurous as some of the other books. But would you call The Innocents adventurous? (Or maybe they found The Innocents so rapturous that it didn’t matter!)

      • buriedinprint says:

        That’s a great question. I think some might have felt that the dialogue was an unusual choice (you know how so many readers complain about “dialect” and how hard it is to read, etc.), that one scene verges on horror, and there is the explicity s*xuality, so maybe???

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