Giller Prize 2023

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Giller Prize 2023

1gypsysmom
Out 12, 2023, 8:08 pm

The shortlist has been announced and I haven't read any of them. Two were on my Want to Read list so I've put holds on them at my library but who knows if I'll get them before the announcement of the winner.
The finalists are:
Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton
The Double Life of Benson Yu by Kevin Chong
The Islands by Dionne Irving
All the Colour in the World by CS Richardson

Has anyone read these books or any of them? The ones I am most interested to read are Birnam Wood and All the Colour in the World, mostly because I have read other books by these authors and liked them. I think The Islands sounds interesting as well.

Reading the authors' bios I was struck by the fact that the three women do not live in Canada; one of them has not lived here for most of her life (Eleanor Catton). Although I'm pretty liberal in terms of who qualifies to be Canadian for "Canadian literature" I can't help but feel that prizes should go to people who, at least, have a residence here. On the other hand, as I am currently reading a book about the difficulties women scientists have in academia, maybe it's the case that women writers also have difficulties finding work and acclaim. Comments?

2Yells
Out 12, 2023, 11:53 pm

I currently have 1, 3 and 5 from the library and I’m at various stages with each. I’ll have to report back when I finish one.

I get a little annoyed when someone with a tenuous link to Canada gets nominated, especially since we have a lot of talented people who live here. I think it probably gives the prize a bigger global audience, but it still seems a little wrong.

3vancouverdeb
Out 13, 2023, 1:06 am

>2 Yells: I know what you mean, Danielle. Eleanor Catton comes to mind. I picked up a book from the Giller Longlist today, Away From the Dead. I hope to get to it soon. I've enjoyed many of his previous books.

4LynnB
Out 13, 2023, 12:48 pm

I haven't read any of these books nor heard of authors, except for CS Richardson. I'm not big on reading prize winners per se, but I will check them out.

I think a "Canadian" author should have a strong tie to Canada, which usually means living here, whether born here or not. And I agree that we have so many talented Canadian writers, some of whom deserve more recognition than they get.

5fountainoverflows
Out 13, 2023, 4:46 pm

Hi Gypsysmom, I read Study for Obedience and wished I’d bailed early on when I wanted to. I loathed the book and have no idea how it was even accepted for publication. I tend to think that if you or I submitted something like it, it would be promptly rejected (and rightly so). I do have reader friends who were taken with Bernstein’s novel, but none of the reasons they supplied could help me understand their enthusiasm for it. I’ve looked at some of the titles you’ve read, trying to get a sense of whether you might like the book. I tend to think not. Try it, but if you feel like quitting (as I did), do quit (as I did not). I’ve read a third of Irvine’s The Islands. The stories are okay (so far) but nothing special. However, I will complete them. I was sorry to see that The Rooftop Garden didn’t make the shortlist. I also read three others on the long list.

6fountainoverflows
Editado: Out 13, 2023, 4:52 pm

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

7gypsysmom
Out 14, 2023, 12:38 pm

>5 fountainoverflows: Thanks for your input and I will try to remember your advice re: Study for Obedience. I, like you, tend to feel I have to finish a book especially if it has won prizes and accolades. When I read Reproduction which won the Giller Prize in 2019 it took me ages and I did not understand or like it. I see that the author, Ian Williams, is on this year's Giller jury so I am a little suspicious of the choices for the list.

8Yells
Out 14, 2023, 2:51 pm

I’m halfway through Study for Obedience and while I don’t hate it, I am rather irritated by the subject matter and confused about where it’s headed. I’m a finisher, so I will press on, but I don’t have high hopes. It was also nominated for the Booker Prize so at the very least I can check it off two lists.

Now The Double Life of Benson Yu was fantastic. It’s a weird blend of fact & fiction, past & present - I don’t think he entirely succeeds in pulling it off, but the concept is original and it’s quite an ambition work.

9fountainoverflows
Editado: Out 18, 2023, 3:05 pm

>7 gypsysmom: Good to know about Williams’s book! I’ve never gotten around to it, but I agree that considering who the judges are is a smart thing to do. I know I tend to avoid story and essay anthologies if the guest editor’s work doesn’t appeal to me, as there’s likely a different aesthetic. Good luck with your reading!

10gypsysmom
Nov 13, 2023, 12:24 pm

The Giller Prize ceremony is tonight. It's broadcast live on CBC TV, Gem and CBC Radio at 9 pm EST (11:30 AT, !2 midnight NT, 8 pm CST, 7 pm MST and 6 pm PST). Rick Mercer is the host which seems like a great choice.

I've managed to read Birnam Wood and All the Colours in the World and I liked both of them but I'd be really upset if Eleanor Catton won since it is so much about New Zealand and I think the Giller Prize should go to something that has, at least, some connection to Canada. All the Colours was a joy to read and has lots of Canadian connection.

I guess we'll see what the jury thought was the best.

11Yells
Editado: Nov 13, 2023, 3:40 pm

>10 gypsysmom: I finished all except Birnam Wood and enjoyed them for the most part. I have a copy of BW so I will get to it as some point in the near future. I agree with being disappointed with a BW win - the world needs more Canada :)

All the Colour in the World is a gorgeous book and my pick for winner, although I can see Study for Obedience taking it. I had an odd reaction to SFO - on one hand, I was fascinated with the story and atmospheric writing, but I seem to connect with the story on some deep-seated negative level and I couldn't fully engage with it. The Double Life of Benson Yu and The Islands were both good as well.

12gypsysmom
Nov 14, 2023, 10:21 am

>11 Yells: You called it! Too bad she couldn't be there to accept the award. After seeing the interview with her, I'm interested in reading Study for Obedience.

What did you all think of the activists disrupting the show? I am surprised they didn't have better security, especially to prevent the guy that got on stage (with the upside down sign) close to the beginning. Mercer handled it pretty well though I thought. The one who interrupted the announcement of the winner was very unfortunate, I thought. Poor Suzette Mayr.

13Yells
Editado: Nov 14, 2023, 11:14 am

>12 gypsysmom: I never get it right! Woohoo! I tried to watch but couldn't get CBC Gem to work right and then got sidetracked doing other things. I checked in afterwards to see who won and went to bed. I was going to try to watch on-line after work today - sounds like I missed an interesting show. What were they protesting?

ETA Thanks Google! All politics aside, I think that there are better ways to get your message across - this is an award show watched by a handful of book lovers across the country, it's not the Oscars. This type of thing is how you get people to not care about world events. I will definitely check it out later.