The 2017 Scotiabank Giller Shortlist includes Possibility, Impossibility, Honesty, Ambivalence, Mystery, Love, and a Doppelganger

Monday, October 2, 2017

This year, with hearts still heavy with the news of Jack Rabinovich passing away in August, we are proud to once again to partner with the Scotiabank Giller Prize to offer this year's shortlisted titles in accessible formats to readers with print disabilities through NNELS.

Congratulations to the shortlisted authors, publishers, and editors whose books were longlisted this year. What a difficult choice it must have been to narrow this list to 5 books.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize strives to highlight the very best in Canadian fiction. The prize awards $100,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband, Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch.

Our partnership with the Scotiabank Giller Prize begin in 2015, continued last year, and here we are once again.

The shortlist titles appear below. These shorlisted titles, as well as a number of longlisted ones, are also available through the NNELS Giller Prize 2017 collection.  This year, for the first time, we have the books available in e-text, DAISY 2, DAISY 3, EPUB 3 with media overlay formats.

If you're not sure how to use these books, please let your librarian know or drop us a line. We're happy to help!

Who'll win this year's prize? Start reading! You have until November 20th.

The 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

Transit, by Rachel Cusk
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

In the wake of family collapse, a writer moves to London with her two young sons. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, practical—as she endeavors to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city she is made to confront aspects of living she has, until now, avoided, and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to reattach herself to, and believe in, life.

Filtered through the impersonal gaze of its keenly intelligent protagonist, Transit sees Rachel Cusk delve deeper into the themes first raised in her critically acclaimed novel Outline, and offers up a penetrating and moving reflection on childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the moral problems of personal responsibility, and the mystery of change. In this precise, short, and yet epic novel, Cusk manages to describe the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life, through a narrative near-silence that draws language toward it. She captures with unsettling restraint and honesty the longing to both inhabit and flee one’s life and the wrenching ambivalence animating our desire to feel real.

Minds of Winter, by Ed O'Loughlin
Published by House of Anansi Press

It begins with a chance encounter at the top of the world.

Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson have each arrived in Inuvik, Canada, about 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both are in search of answers about a family member: Nelson for his estranged older brother, and Fay for her vanished grandfather. Driving Fay into town from the airport on a freezing January night, Nelson reveals a folder left behind by his brother. An image catches Fay’s eye: a clock she has seen before. Soon Fay and Nelson realize that their relatives have an extraordinary and historic connection — a secret share in one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of polar expedition. This is the riddle of the “Arnold 294” chronometer, which reappeared in Britain more than a hundred years after it was lost in the Arctic with the ships and men of Sir John Franklin’s Northwest Passage expedition. The secret history of this elusive timepiece, Fay and Nelson will discover, ties them and their families to a journey that echoes across two centuries.

In a feat of extraordinary scope and ambition, Ed O’Loughlin moves between a frozen present and an ever thawing past. Minds of Winter is a novel about ice and time and their ability to preserve or destroy, of mortality and loss and our dreams of transcending them.

Bellevue Square, by Michael Redhill
Published by Doubleday Canada

Jean Mason has a doppelganger. She's never seen her, but others swear they have. Apparently, her identical twin hangs out in Kensington Market, where she sometimes buys churros and drags an empty shopping cart down the streets, like she's looking for something to put in it. Jean's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving bookstore in downtown Toronto, and she doesn't rattle easily—not like she used to. But after two customers insist they've seen her double, Jean decides to investigate.

She begins at the crossroads of Kensington Market: a city park called Bellevue Square. Although she sees no one who looks like her, it only takes a few visits to the park for her to become obsessed with the possibility of encountering her twin in the flesh. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the park, she expands her surveillance, making it known she'll pay for information or sightings. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants—the regulars of Bellevue Square—are eager to contribute to Jean's investigation. But when some of them start disappearing, she fears her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate much stranger than death.

Son of a Trickster, by Eden Robinson
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)—and now she's dead.

Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him—even when he's not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don't.

I am a Truck, by Michelle Winters
Published by Invisible Publishing

Agathe and Réjean Lapointe are about to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary when Réjean’s beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road—with no trace of Réjean. As her hope dwindles, Agathe falls in with her spirited coworker, Debbie, who teaches Agathe about rock and roll, and with Martin Bureau, the one man who might know the truth about Réjean’s fate. Set against the landscape of rural Acadia, I Am a Truck is a funny and moving tale about the possibilities and impossibilities of love and loyalty.