Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giller Prize Runner Ups!



I know we announced that The Bishop's Man was the Giller Prize Winner, but we forgot to mention the four amazing books that were also the runner ups! So without further ado here they are:

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The Golden Mean

Annabel Lyon
Fiction / Historical

Book Description

What would it have been like to sit at the feet of the legendary philosopher Aristotle? Even more intriguing, what would it have been like to witness Aristotle instructing the most famous of his pupils, the young Alexander the Great?

In her first novel, acclaimed fiction writer Annabel Lyon boldly imagines one of history’s most intriguing relationships and the war at its heart between ideas and action as a way of knowing the world.


As The Golden Mean opens, Aristotle is forced to postpone his dream of succeeding Plato as the leader of the Academy in Athens when Philip of Macedon asks him to stay on in his capital city of Pella to tutor his precocious son, Alexander. At first the philosopher is appalled to be stuck in the brutal backwater of his childhood, but he is soon drawn to the boy’s intellectual potential and his capacity for surprise. What he does not know is whether his ideas are any match for the warrior culture that is Alexander’s birthright.

But he feels that teaching this startling, charming, sometimes horrifying boy is a desperate necessity. And that what the boy — thrown before his time onto his father’s battlefields — needs most is to learn the golden mean, that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy’s will to conquer.

Also at stake are his own ambitions, as he plays a cat-and-mouse game of power and influence with Philip, a boyhood friend who now controls his fate.

Exploring a fabled time and place, Annabel Lyon tells her story, breathtakingly, in the earthy, frank, and perceptive voice of Aristotle himself. With sensual and muscular prose, she explores how Aristotle’s genius touched the boy who would conquer the known world. And she reveals how we still live with the ghosts of both men.

Review quotes

“I absolutely loved The Golden Mean. Annabel Lyon brings the philosophers and warriors, artists and whores, princes and slaves of ancient Macedonia alive, with warmth, wit, and poignancy. Impeccably researched and brilliantly told, this novel is utterly convincing.”

— Marie Phillips, author of Gods Behaving Badly

“The Golden Mean, so full of intellect, is a pleasure to read. If excellence is our standard, then this novel will certainly flourish.”

— David Bergen, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of The Time in Between and The Retreat

“An exhilarating book, both brilliant and profound. Annabel Lyon’s spare, fluid, utterly convincing prose pulls us headlong into Aristotle’s original mind. Only Lyon’s great-hearted intelligence could have imagined and achieved the brave ambition of this book. Vital, ferocious, and true, The Golden Mean is an oracular vision of the past made present.”

— Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault


“In Lyon’s clever hands, more than two thousand years of difference are made to disappear and Aristotle feels as real and accessible as the man next door. With this powerful, readable act of the imagination, Annabel Lyon proves that she can go anywhere it pleases her to go.”

— Fred Stenson, author of The Great Karoo

About the Author

Annabel Lyon’s first book, the short-story collection Oxygen, was nominated for the Danuta Gleed and ReLit awards. Her second collection, The Best Thing for You, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction. She lives in New Westminster, B.C., with her husband and two children.

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The Disappeared (Hardcover)
Kim Echlin
Fiction

Book Description

Book Description

Anne Greves is a motherless Canadian girl and her lover, Serey, a gentle Cambodian rebel and exiled musician. One day he leaves their Montreal flat to seek out his family in the aftermath of Pol Pot's savage revolution. After a decade without word, Anne abandons everything to search for him in Phnom Penh, a city traumatized by the Khmer Rouge slaughter.

Against all odds, the lovers are reunited, and in a country where tranquil rice paddies harbour the bones of the massacred, these two self-exiled lovers struggle to recreate themselves in a world that rejects their hopes. But when Serey disappears again, Anne discovers that the journey she must embark upon may reveal a story she cannot bear.

Haunting, vivid, elegiac, The Disappeared is an unforgettable consideration of language, justice, and memory, at once a battle cry and a piercing lament, for truth, for love.


About the Author

KIM ECHLIN's first novel, Elephant Winter, won the Torgi Talking Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the 1997 Chapters/Book in Canada First Novel Award. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.


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Fall (Hardcover)
Colin Mcadam
Fiction

Book Description

A place of pressure and contradictions, St Ebury is an exclusive boarding school for the children of Canada's elite, where boys must act as men while navigating their adolescence; a mixed school with only a handful of girls.

Fall is the most beautiful. At night the bathrooms and beds hum with thoughts of her. Noel, a clever, ghostly loner, prowls the corridors on weekends, filling spare hours working on his body-building. Watching her, always knowing where she is and who she's talking to, he is certain that one day Fall will come to know him deeply. But like everyone else, she is drawn to Julius, the confident and magnetic son of the American ambassador to Canada.

At the beginning of their final year, the two boys room together and awkward Noel believes he is allowed into a new circle of friends. Julius grows physically closer to Fall, his eyes open to the moments around him, while Noel's boisterous enthusiasm shades into something darker as he imagines himself as a confidante to his popular roommate. While Julius moves through the daily joys and absurdities of adolescence, Noel recounts from a distance of several years what the consequences were of his efforts to enter Fall's life forever.

A disturbing and unforgettable story of guilt, memory and confused identity, Colin McAdam's second novel is a work of power, pitch-perfect observation and searing ambition. It confirms his status as a truly unique talent, one of the few living novelists capable of taking the modern novel and forging from it something startling and wholly new.

About Colin Mcadam

Colin McAdam grew up in Hong Kong, Denmark, England, and Barbados, as well as several cities in Canada. He studied English and Classics at McGill University and the University of Toronto, and received his Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. He lives in Montreal.

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The Winter Vault (Hardcover)
Anne Michaels
Fiction / Literary

Book Description

The long-awaited novel by the internationally celebrated author of Fugitive Pieces, the debut novel that catapulted Anne Michaels into the forefront of literary superstars.

“The future casts its shadow on the past. In this way, first gestures contain everything . . .”

Anne Michaels’s first work of fiction in more than a decade, The Winter Vault is a stunning, richly layered, and timeless novel that is everything we could hope for for Michaels’s second novel — and more. Set in Canada and Egypt, and with flashbacks to England and Poland after the war, The Winter Vault is a spellbinding love story that juxtaposes momentous historical events with the most intimate moments of individual lives.

In 1964, a newly married Canadian couple settle into a houseboat on the Nile just below Abu Simbel. At the time of the building of the Aswam dam, Avery Escher is one of the engineers responsible for the dismantling and reconstruction of a sacred temple, a “machine-worshipper” who is nonetheless sensitive to their destructive power. Jean is a botanist by avocation, passionately interested in everything that grows. They met on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, witnessing the construction of the Seaway as it swallowed towns, homes, and lives. Now, at the edge of another world about to be inundated in the name of progress, much of what they most believe in is tested.

When a tragic event occurs, nearing the end of Avery’s time in Egypt, he and Jean return to separate lives in Toronto; Avery to school to study architecture and Jean into the orbit of Lucjan, a Polish √©migr√© artist whose haunting tales of occupied Warsaw pull her further from her husband, while offering her the chance to assume her most essential life.

Breathtaking, vivid in its exploration of both the physical and emotional worlds of its characters, intensely moving and lyrical, The Winter Vault is a radiant work of fiction and contains all the elements for which Anne Michaels is celebrated.

Review quotes

"Profound loss, desolation and rebuilding are the literal and metaphoric themes of Michaels's exquisite second novel (after Fugitive Pieces)…. A tender love story set against an intriguing bit of history is handled with uncommon skill."

— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Has it been worth the wait? It has. . . . Anne Michaels, in short, is back. "

— Globe and Mail

"A tender love story set against an intriguing bit of history is handled with uncommon skill."

— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A major achievement. . . . "

— NOW magazine (Four Ns)

"Literature is all the better for it."

— The New York Times

"The anticipation, more than a decade in the building, has been eager, the recent buzz intense. And if McClelland & Stewart sees The Winter Vault, its new novel from Anne Michaels, as the publishing event of the season, there is vibrant and compelling justification. . . . "

— Ottawa Citizen

About the Author

Anne Michaels’s first novel was the award-winning, internationally bestselling Fugitive Pieces. Its prizes include a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of three highly acclaimed poetry collections. She lives in Toronto.

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