Monday, September 21, 2009

Surprising Gillers (with just a bit too much historical fiction. And MARTHA BAILLIE!!)

I was wrong. And come now, this is hardly unprecedented. I tend to be wrong at least five times a day, but I do wish I'd been wrong about something other than Lisa Moore's chances at this year's Giller Prize. Because-- to the surprise of many-- February didn't make the longlist, and I consider it a fine novel. Also to the surprise of many, ten out of the twelve books nominated this year were written by women, which is surprising because women writers don't tend to stack up on prize lists, unless it is the Orange Prize, which is why there is an Orange Prize. (Or at least this is the way it looks from my chair. I could be wrong about this too. I probably am, after all, I haven't slept for more than 2.5 hours in a row in three weeks-- have I mentioned this? Have I mentioned that I'm slowly losing my mind, but I digress... as tired people often do.)

The most remarkable thing about this longlist, however, is that it's interesting. A mix of small and big presses, book names and unknowns (to me), books I know of and will probably never read, and some that seem rather intriguing and I've never even heard of. Okay, a bit too much historical fiction for my liking, but then that fiction seems pretty various, and history is anything past five minutes ago. There is a lot of good stuff here.

Including, The Incident Report by Martha Baillie! Honestly, my disappointment at Moore not being included is quelled by Baillie's spot on the shortlist, because I absolutely adored her book, which was so innovative, surprising, and like nothing else I've ever read before. It's a book that I think more people should know about, not just because they'd probably like it, but because it's so extraordinarily good. And I never thought about it being a Giller pick, because it's not that sort of book, but maybe this just isn't that sort of Gillers? Imagine if Martha Baillie won??

I'm not sure she will. But I sort of think she should. My opinion not meaning so much, of course, as her's is the only book I've read of the list, but I urge you to read it too, and you might just concur.