So, the shortlist for the new and improved Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced this morning. TOist will cut to the chase: Joseph Boyden wuz robbed. Not only could we not put Three-Day Road down, the novel also straddles the literary and commercial quite nicely (it was Isabel Allende’s pick for this major book club, fer Pete’s sake). While delighted that David Bergen made the cut, TOist worries that the literary establishment may once again have come down with a bad case of Provincial Bezmozgis Syndrome. David Bezmozgis, the critically-acclaimed (and, it must be admitted, cute) short-story wunderkind was shut out of the hometown prize last year but went on to get nods elsewhere, winning pretty much every other literary award around, including the most recent Toronto Book Award. Since both authors happen to be relative outsiders in the small-ish Canadian publishing community, it begs the question, Could the Gillers be one big popularity contest, like a grown-up junior high? Say it ain’t so, Jack.
Shortlisted or not, buy it now anyway. Because, as any publisher will attest, reprints are the best revenge.