November 13, 2009

2009 Giller Prize - part 2

On Tuesday evening, the winner of the 2009 Giller Prize was announced - The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre. I am happy with this choice - it wouldn't have been my top pick, but it comes in at a close second on my list.

I set out to read my way through the short list when it was announced last month, and if it hadn't been for the tediousness of The Golden Mean, I would have finished the list before the announcement was made. If I was appointed as a committee of one, to select a winner from the short list, this is how I would have ranked the books:
1) The Disappeared
2) The Bishop's Man
3) Fall
4) The Golden Mean
5) The Winter Vault

I was pleased that neither The Golden Mean nor The Winter Vault won, despite the fact that they seemed to have the most momentum leading up to the announcement earlier this week. I found both books to be quite disappointing.

Referring back to my earlier post about this year's Giller, I was disappointed about the non-inclusion of Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood on the shortlist. Alice Munro had asked that her book not be considered in order to give up-and-coming writers a better chance, and Margaret Atwood's book was on the long list but cut from the short list. But if those two books were included on the short list, this is how I would have ranked them:
1) The Year of the Flood
2) The Disappeared
3) The Bishop's Man
4) Too Much Happiness
5) Fall
6) The Golden Mean
7) The Winter Vault

I personally disagree with Alice Munro's decision - after all, the Giller is supposed to be for literary excellence, not a "first book" or "young writers'" award. And I can't help but wonder if Margaret Atwood was left off the short list as punishment for some slightly catty comments that she made about Alice Munro's decision.

Anyways, as I said, I can live with the decision to award the Giller Prize to The Bishop's Man - it was a very good book that captivated me right from the first chapter, and left me worried as I neared the end that I would be stranded without a book to read (I was traveling at the time), and yet I couldn't put it down to spin the reading time out any longer. And very timely in it's subject matter. Now the excitement of waiting to see what the next year holds in books to read!

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