Shadowing the Best of CanLit

Featuring the Shadow Giller

I’m sitting here staring at the list of 12 books on the Giller Longlist desperately trying to think of which will be on the Shortlist. I’m failing miserably. Will it even be 6 books? As few as 5 or even 4?

My Longlist wishlist saw only 3 correct out of 12. Depending on how many will actually be named to the Shortlist, my odds could be one maybe 2? So once again, whatever I “predict” is a complete wishlist. I admit to only completely finishing 3 and I have 3 others on the go right now. I’ve been waiting (and waiting) for 2 others to come in from the library – they show as me being first in line for books that are available, but they haven’t made their way to me yet.

The books I’ve finished?

Miriam Toews is always a favourite with the Giller judges, and it wasn’t a surprise to find this book on the Longlist. But for the Shortlist? I myself don’t really see it. Or maybe to say in my opinion, I don’t want to necessarily see it on the Shortlist? Of the 3 above, Astra was the one I liked the most and it would be great to see Bowers have her debut make it all the way to the Shortlist.

The ones I have on the go?

I started What Strange Paradise in audio because the wonderful Dion Graham narrates. His voice is perfectly and fittingly resonant and enjoyably so, however there is just something about this story that makes me want to read the words with my eyes and not my ears. So I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for the book to become available to me from the library. I’ve just only started The Strangers last night, but with a family tree, its synopsis and a trigger warning from the author in the front, I feel strongly that this would be a book I’ll fully settle into. I bought We, Jane and read about 3 pages of it so far. (Library holds showed up and I had to finish those first!) I do hope to see these three on the Shortlist, (We, Jane purely for selfish reasons, I own the book, so I’d like to be able to finish reading it!)

With these 5 read, or partially read, I can clearly see common themes here. Themes of identity, belonging and family are strongly present with identity being the strongest in my opinion.

I’m assuming Swimming Back to Trout River is (forever?) lost in my library system. It is showing as supposed to have been returned a month ago, and I’m first in line next for it, but that notification it’s on its way looks to never be coming. It is highly unlikely it will arrive before the Shortlist’s announcement in time for me to even start it. It has however recently been named to the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, so does that mean good things for it here on the Giller Shortlist?

I’m 4th in line for The Listeners, so clearly I won’t be able to read it before Tuesday’s announcement. I can’t even assume to make a prediction for this one.

Thuy’s Em was only just released and already has a number of holds on it so it will be a wait before I can read this one. Thuy is a venerable favourite with the Giller judges, this is her third time appearing on the Prize’s list(s). I can only assume she’ll appear on the Shortlist.

So the books I would like to see on the Shortlist? My complete guess? Which I know will be so way off probably! I’m going to go with 5 only because I don’t think this jury is going to have that even half from the Longlist.

So I’ve noted the 3 above already that I do hope to see on the Shortlist, but I’m thinking perhaps only 2 might appear: The Strangers, and What Strange Paradise.

So the other 3? My guesses would be:

So Penny’s 5-book Giller Prize Shortlist wishlist is:

The Strangers, by Katherena Vermette

What Strange Paradise, by Omar El Akkad

The Son of the House, by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

A Dream of a Woman, by Casey Plett

em, Kim Thuy

How far or how close do you think I am? Which books do you wish to see on Tuesday’s Shortlist announcement?

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