Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Governor General's Literary Award Finalists 2008

The Governor General of Canada's Literary Award finalists were announced today.

The five fiction finalists as described on the award's official webpage:

"Rivka Galchen, New York (New York), originally from Toronto, Atmospheric Disturbances. (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-1-55468-054-2)Atmospheric Disturbances is a poignant and very funny journey inside a mistaken mind. A writer with tremendous sympathy and psychological acuity, Rivka Galchen is possessed of a wonderfully sly, magnificently skewed sense of humour. A brilliant debut.

Rawi Hage, Montreal, Cockroach.(House of Anansi Press; distributed by
HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88784-209-2)Rawi Hage’s Cockroach is a savagely intelligent examination of contemporary multicultural Canada. Humorous and heartbreaking, this novel shines a fierce, brilliant light on
the immigrant experience in this country. A mad tour-de-force in a fresh
and original voice.

Nino Ricci, Toronto, The Origin of Species.(Doubleday Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-385-66360-1)The young searching protagonist of Nino Ricci’s The Origin of Species takes us into the now distant world of the post-Trudeau 1980s. Set mostly in Montreal, with an illuminating voyage to the Gal├ípagos at its centre, this exquisite novel is both tough and tender and, in the end, confirms our belief in the resilience of the human heart.

David Adams Richards, Toronto, The Lost Highway.(Doubleday Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-385-66496-7)The Lost Highway is an intimate and compelling psychological portrait of a lost soul. David Adams Richards writes with an overarching humanity that points to our foibles with sympathy and humour. His open, honest and supple prose creates a world we at once recognize and see anew.

Fred Stenson, Cochrane (Alberta), The Great Karoo.(Doubleday Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-385-66405-9)No one writes about cowboys, horses, landscape and the military quite like Fred Stenson. Here is the humour, humanity and insight that can only come from an author who knows what he’s talking about. A true-hearted book about Canadians caught up in the dark cause of the Boer War."

I have read Atmospheric Disturbances and enjoyed this story of a psychiatrist with...well, psychiatric problems. It certainly original. The next three I have sitting here from the library waiting for me as they are also on the Giller Prize longlist. The last is probably not something I'd usually read but I'll wait until I've heard more about it. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

The full announcement of other literary categories can be found here:


Have you read any of the finalists? Which interest you? What have you heard about them? Are there others that you think should have made the list? Comments and questions welcomed.


  1. I have Atmospheric Disturbances in my TBR pile. Can't wait to get to it! It will probably be my next Jewish book after I finish Sarah's Key.

  2. The Great Karoo is going on my wishlist just because it involves the Boer War and I think that's a fresh perspective for a novel.

  3. I haven't read any of them!! I have been wanting to read Cockroach though! I am not sure it is my type of book, but the title is fun :)

    happy thursday!



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