Governor General's Literary Awards 2013 - Fiction

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  • 1
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    The Lion Seeker Kenneth Bonert Canada
    9780307362131 Paperback FICTION / Literary On Sale Date: February 26, 2013
    $25.00 CAD 6.2 x 9 x 1.1 in | 576 pages Carton Quantity: 12 Canadian Rights: Y Knopf Canada
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      A brawny, brilliant debut novel about the epic struggles of an immigrant son in a darkening world.
      Johannesburg, South Africa. The Great Depression. In this harsh new country, young Isaac Helger burns with fiery determination— to break out of the inner city, to buy his scarred mother the home she longs for, to find a way to realize her dream of reuniting a family torn apart. But there are terrible, unspoken secrets of the past that will haunt him as he makes his way through a society brutalized by racism, as he loses his heart to an unattainable girl from the city’s wealthiest heights and his every exit route from poverty dead-ends. When the threat of the Second World War insinuates itself with brutal force into Isaac’s reality, he will face the most important choice of his life . . . and will have to learn to live with the consequences.
       
      In this extraordinarily powerful novel, Kenneth Bonert brings alive the world of South African Jewry in all its raw energy and ribald vernacular. Comedic, searing, lyrical and with a snap-perfect ear for dialogue, The Lion Seeker is a profoundly moral exploration of how wider social forces shape us and shatter us, echoing through history with lessons that are no less relevant today than in the crucible of its time.

      Bio
      KENNETH BONERT's short stories have appeared in Grain and The Fiddlehead. His story "Packers and Movers" was shortlisted for the Journey Prize and his novella "Peacekeepers, 1995" appeared in McSweeney's 25. The Lion Seeker is his first novel. A one-time journalist, his articles have appeared in the Globe and Mail, National Post and other publications. Born in South Africa, he now calls Toronto home.
      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Canadian Jewish Book Award 2014, Winner
      Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction 2013, Short-listed
      National Jewish Book Award 2013, Winner
      Reviews

      WINNER 2015 – Jewish Book Council Choice Award
      FINALIST 2015 – Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize
      WINNER 2014 – Canadian Jewish Book Award in Fiction, a category of the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards
      WINNER 2013 – Edward Lewis Wallant Award
      WINNER 2013 – National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction
      FINALIST 2013 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

      The Lion Seeker…adds to the unique diversity in Canadian literature…. Mazel tov, Kenneth Bonert, you have written a blockbuster of a book.”
      —Jennifer Hunter, Toronto Star

      “Bonert’s prose is sharp and masterful, clipping along at a breathless pace while still managing to wow us with imagery, clever turns of phrase and believable dialogue peppered with several languages.”
      —Zoe Whittall, The Globe and Mail

      “Strikingly assured debut…. The Lion Seeker is astonishingly mature, admirably incautious. It moves with the sleight-of-hand of the born artist, ramping up for naked tugs at the heart. It would make a terrific film. It’s visually and thematically sweeping, rich with diverse personalities, packed with tender waves and roiling crests of love, loss, hope, hatred.”
      —Jim Bartley, National Post

      “This powerful novel begins with a mystery that propels its characters through their difficult lives in prewar South Africa and haunts their actions until a dramatic and searing climax based on the Holocaust in Lithuania. The Lion Seeker is vivid and illuminating, astonishing in its range and toughness, and simultaneously an expression of love and regret for all that has been lost.”
      —Antanas Sileika, author of Underground and Woman in Bronze and Director of the Humber School for Writers

      “A remarkably assured debut, The Lion Seeker is a riveting, lyrical, and profound journey towards the intersection of private lives and public destinies. Kenneth Bonert has all the makings of a major novelist.”
      —Charles Foran, author of Mordecai: The Life and Times

      The Lion Seeker is no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle-fight raw. A historical novel that feels desperately current; a Rosenburg and Juliet love story shorn of all sentiment; a stock-taking of human brutality and its flip side, our capacity to reach beyond our limitations and be better, all rendered in prose so expert, so fine honed that it belies the adjective ‘debut.’ It joins classics like J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace and Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart in the canon, and renders the South African experience universal. A first-round knock-out for Kenneth Bonert.”
      —Richard Poplak, author of Ja No Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-Era South Africa

      The Lion Seeker is a powerful and thoroughly engrossing novel, grand in scope, richly imagined, full of dramatic incident, and crafted in a prose that is by turns rough-hewn and lyrical. To read it is to be reminded how great a great novel can be.”
      —David Bezmozgis, author of The Free World and Natasha: And Other Stories

  • 2
    catalogue cover
    The Orenda Joseph Boyden Canada
    9780670064182 Hardcover FICTION / General On Sale Date: September 10, 2013
    $32.00 CAD 6.29 x 9.24 x 1.54 in | 496 pages Carton Quantity: 24 Canadian Rights: Y Hamish Hamilton
    • Marketing Copy

      Description
      A visceral portrait of life at a crossroads, The Orenda opens with a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of the young Iroquois Snow Falls, a spirited girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation’s great warriors and statesmen. It has been years since the murder of his family, and yet they are never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter and sees that the girl possesses powerful magic that will be useful to him on the troubled road ahead. Bird’s people have battled the Iroquois for as long as he can remember, but both tribes now face a new, more dangerous threat from afar. 

       Christophe, a charismatic Jesuit missionary, has found his calling among the Huron, and devotes himself to learning and understanding their customs and language in order to lead them to Christ. An emissary from distant lands, he brings much more than his faith to the new world.

      As these three souls dance with each other through intricately woven acts of duplicity, small battles erupt into bigger wars and a nation emerges from worlds in flux. 

      Bio
      JOSEPH BOYDEN's first novel, Three Day Road, was selected for the Today Show Book Club, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. His most recent novel, The Orenda, won Canada Reads and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Boyden divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana.
      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Canada Reads 2014, Winner
      Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction 2013, Short-listed
      Scotiabank Giller Prize 2013
      Reviews
      "Every so often, a book can bring the past back to life so vividly that it ceases to be history and becomes a part of the living world. Joseph Boyden has done this with haunting beauty and visceral strength, repopulating a destroyed world with characters so real and striking it is hard to think of them as fictional. The Orenda is not only Boyden's finest work, it is one of the most powerful novels I've ever read." - Steven Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo

      “Joseph Boyden has taken our memory of the past – myth and fact – ripped it inside out with elegance, violence, emotion and understanding until before us stands a new myth, a new memory, of how we became who we are.” - John Ralston Saul

      “The Orenda is a powerful story from history, folklore and the imagination, based on the universality of human cruelty, superstition and perseverance. Wonderful writing.” - Linden MacIntyre, Giller Prize-winning author of The Bishop's Man

      “An important and engrossing novel. Boyden invites the reader to re-imagine a Canadian story you thought you knew.” - Jim Balsillie, Co-Founder Blackberry

      “I have spent almost forty years of my life studying both the archaeology of the Huron-Wendat and the annual accounts of the Crows and only now, having read Joseph Boyden's brilliant novel, do I feel the majesty and the horrors of the lives of these people. His work should be required reading for every Canadian” - Dr. Ronald F. Williamson, co-author of The Mantle Site: An Archaeological History of an Ancestral Wendat Community and Managing Partner of Archaeological Services Inc.

      “Boyden’s bloody and brick-thick new novel, The Orenda, is a historical epic about an idealistic missionary caught between warring tribes, hundreds of years before confederation. . . Full of head-bludgeoning and throat-cutting scenes set in the wilds of what is now Ontario, the novel feels like a hybrid of Pierre Berton and Cormac McCarthy: perfect for readers who like a little arterial spray with their history.” - Toronto Life

      “The Orenda illuminates the shadowy moment of our inception as a country. It forces us to bravely consider who we are. The Orenda is much more than a timely novel. It is a timeless one; born a classic.” - National Post

      "A stunning, masterful work of staggering depth, possibly the first truly great Canadian novel of this century." - Vancouver Sun

      "In what has already been a banner year for Canadian fiction, Joseph Boyden has just stepped decisively to the head of the class." - Montreal Gazette

      "An epic worthy of Herodotus or Sima Qian…The Orenda declares it an equal to any ancient Greek or Chinese account of empires rising and falling. . . a great, heartbreaking novel, full of fierce action and superb characters and an unblinking humanity." - Globe and Mail

      “Epic in scope, exquisite in execution . . . A fascinating glimpse of what it felt like to live at the sharp end of the spear of European conquest.” - Publisher’s Weekly
  • 3
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    The Luminaries Eleanor Catton Canada
    9780771019104 Hardcover FICTION / Literary On Sale Date: August 28, 2013
    $35.00 CAD 6.32 x 9.26 x 1.95 in | 848 pages Carton Quantity: 12 Canadian Rights: Y McClelland & Stewart
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize and Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and set during the heady days of New Zealand’s Gold Rush, The Luminaries is a magnificent novel of love, lust, murder, and greed, in which three unsolved crimes link the fates and fortunes of twelve men. Dickens meets Deadwood in this internationally celebrated phenomenon.

      In January 1866, young Walter Moody lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the west coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind a family scandal. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day: the town’s wealthiest man has vanished. An enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. A prostitute has supposedly tried to end her life. But nothing is quite as it seems. As the men share their stories, what emerges is an intricate network of alliances and betrayals, secrets and lies, that is as exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

      Part mystery, part fantastical love story, and intricately structured around the zodiac and the golden mean (each chapter is half the length of the preceding one), The Luminaries weaves together the changing fates and fortunes of an entire community, one where everyone has something to hide. Rich with character and event, it is a gripping page-turner – and a unique, atmospheric world – in which readers will gladly lose themselves. It confirms Eleanor Catton’s reputation as one of the most exciting and innovative novelists writing today.

      Bio
      ELEANOR CATTON was born in 1985 in London, Ontario, and raised in New Zealand. Her internationially celebrated first novel, The Rehearsal, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Betty Trask Award, and the NZ Society of Authors' Best First Book Award, was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Writers Prize, and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. She holds an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was also an adjunct professor. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews

      The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is an entire narrative universe with its own mysterious cosmology. This exhilarating feat of literary design dazzles with masterful storytelling. Each character is a planet – complex and brilliantly revealed. Precise sensual prose illuminates greed, fear, jealousy, longing – all that it means to be human.”
      —Jury citation, Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

      “A magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling; and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold.”
      —Robert Macfarlane, the Man Booker Prize Chair of Judges

      “The type of novel that you will devour only to discover that you can't find anything of equal scope and excitement to read once you have finished. . . . Do yourself a favour and read The Luminaries. . . .”
      The Independent

      “Irresistible, masterful, compelling. . . . The Luminaires has a gripping plot that is cleverly unravelled to its satisfying conclusion, a narrative that from the first page asserts that it is firmly in control of where it is taking us. . . . [Catton is] a mistress of plot and pacing. . . .”
      The Telegraph (5-star review)

      “Every sentence of this intriguing tale set on the wild west coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush is expertly written, every cliffhanger chapter-ending making us beg for the next to begin. . . . The consummate literary page-turner. . . .”
      The Guardian

      “Note-perfect. . . . [Catton’s] authority and verve are so impressive that she can seemingly take us anywhere; each time, we trust her to lead us back. . . . A remarkable accomplishment.”
      Globe and Mail

      The Luminaries is an impressive novel, captivating, intense and full of surprises.”
      Times Literary Supplement

      “Beautifully rendered. . . . Momentous. An exquisite world unto itself.”
      Maclean’s

      “A finely wrought fun house of a novel. Enjoy the ride.”
      —Chris Bohjalian, Washington Post

      “A remarkable achievement. . . . Intricate, painstakingly detailed and deliciously readable. . . . A novel that can be enjoyed for its engrossing entirety, as well as for the literary gems bestowed on virtually every page.”
      Quill & Quire (starred review)

      “A dazzling knot of interwoven lives. . . . Heart-pounding . . . .”
      Publishers Weekly (starred review)

      “As beautiful as it is triumphant.”
      Daily Mail

      “A tour de force of narrative control. . . . Catton does an incredible job of bringing to life the time and place and the utter ruthlessness that greed engenders in human beings. . . .”
      Vancouver Sun

      “Falling in love with a fictional person is one of the greatest pleasures in life, Canadian-born writer Eleanor Catton believes. By the time readers have finished The Luminaries, they will have been enchanted by many of her characters, as they slowly reveal themselves through the novel’s intriguing web of interactions and relationships.”
      Toronto Star

      “Hugely addictive.”
      —Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • 4
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    A Beautiful Truth Colin McAdam Canada
    9780670066360 Hardcover FICTION / General On Sale Date: March 19, 2013
    $30.00 CAD 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.05 in | 304 pages Carton Quantity: 32 Canadian Rights: Y Hamish Hamilton
    • Marketing Copy

      Description
        A novel about the simple truths that transcend species, about the meaning of family, the lure of belonging, and the capacity for survival

      Walt and Judy are deeply in love, but Judy longs for a child and finds that life is holding few surprises. Walt measures all beauty against that of Judy but doesn’t want her eyes to get any sadder. They stay side by side and search for distractions, realizing they may never have a family. On a day when hope seems low, Walt finds an unexpected opportunity in the pages of Life magazine. Soon they are welcoming Looee, born in Sierra Leone, into their home in the hills of Vermont , where they come to regard him as their son.

      Looee is a hurricane in clothes; the house is torn apart. Judy asks questions of herself and is judged by friends and strangers. But the three of them eventually find their rhythm and settle into their own version of love and life between four walls. Until the night their unique family is changed forever.

      Hundreds of miles away, at the Girdish Institute in Florida , a group of chimpanzees has been studied for decades. There is proof that chimps have memories and solve problems, that they can learn language and need friends. They are political, altruistic; they get angry and forgive. Among them is Mr. Ghoul, who has grown up in a world of rivals, sex and unpredictable loss. As Looee and Mr. Ghoul ’s distant but parallel paths through childhood, adolescence and early middle age converge, a new experience of family is formed.

      Told simultaneously from the perspective of humans and chimpanzees, A Beautiful Truth is an inventive, thrillingly intelligent and heartfelt novel about parenthood, friendship, loneliness and strength, about the things we hold sacred as humans and the facts that link us inevitably to a nature we too often ignore.

      Bio
      Colin McAdam has written for Harpers’ and The Walrus. His novel Some Great Thing won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award and was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in the U.K. His second novel, Fall, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and awarded the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennon Prize. He lives in Toronto.
      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews
      "McAdam's language reaches into that mysterious place where a word ends and a feeling begins. A Beautiful Truth is a story about love and beauty and our dreams for our children and our inescapable loneliness. The characters, human and animal, are sad and honest and true. I could not put this novel down, and only when I finished it could I breathe again." - Kim Echlin, Author of The Disappeared

      “One of the most inventive writers in Canada.” - National Post

      "[A] gut punch of a novel... This is a book that's going to get a lot of people talking. And crying." - Toronto Life

      “In prose both strange and startling, Colin McAdam asks what, if anything, separates the human from the animal; he answers with heartbreaking honesty. This is the kind of book you finish just to pick back up again, if only to figure out how he pulled it off.” - Writers Trust Fiction Prize jury citation

      “Haunting. Heartbreaking. A Curious George for grown-ups, it is a tale of empathy and honesty, deftly told and beautifully rendered.” - Will Ferguson, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of 419

      “In his previous novel, the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Fall, McAdam showed himself willing to experiment and take chances with style and narrative technique. . . A Beautiful Truth is just as edgy but is a more sure-handed and mature work, expertly weaving together shifts in voice and point of view and making use of a poetic language full of direct, sensual metaphors.” - Toronto Star

      “A moving and linguistically inventive novel that examines the curious bond between humans and apes.” - Regina Leader Post

      “Packs a huge emotional punch. McAdam has effected a true leap of empathy, and in the process pulled off something often claimed to the point of cliché but very rarely achieved in fiction: He makes us see the world and ourselves in a new way.” - Montreal Gazette

      “His voice is original and fiercely intelligent. It somehow possesses this combination of hard-won world weariness and exuberant, unshakeable faith in a better world. The essence of his prose, for me, is contradiction … my favourite thing … contradictions and layers and layers of meaning. He exposes all of our treacherous and base instincts but with the unspoken caveat that, in spite of our horrible human ways, we must always, relentlessly, struggle to love each other. Aside from McAdam’s great talents as a storyteller it’s this feeling I get from his work that moves me profoundly and that I strive to duplicate in my own writing.” - Miriam Toews, author of A Complicated Kindness
  • 5
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    The Hungry Ghosts Shyam Selvadurai Canada
    9780385670661 Hardcover FICTION / General On Sale Date: April 02, 2013
    $29.95 CAD 6.53 x 9.5 x 1.31 in | 384 pages Carton Quantity: 12 Canadian Rights: Y Doubleday Canada
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      In Buddhist myth, the dead may be reborn as "hungry ghosts"—spirits with stomach so large they can never be full—if they have desired too much during their lives. It is the duty of the living relatives to free those doomed to this fate by doing kind deeds and creating good karma. In Shyam Selvadurai’s sweeping new novel, his first in more than a decade, he creates an unforgettable ghost, a powerful Sri Lankan matriarch whose wily ways, insatiable longing for land, houses, money and control, and tragic blindness to the human needs of those around her parallels the volatile political situation of her war-torn country.
       
      The novel centres around Shivan Rassiah, the beloved grandson, who is of mixed Tamil and Sinhalese lineage, and who also—to his grandmother’s dismay—grows from beautiful boy to striking gay man. As the novel opens in the present day, Shivan, now living in Canada, is preparing to travel back to Colombo, Sri Lanka, to rescue his elderly and ailing grandmother, to remove her from the home—now fallen into disrepair—that is her pride, and bring her to Toronto to live our her final days. But throughout the night and into the early morning hours of his departure, Shivan grapples with his own insatiable hunger and is haunted by unrelenting ghosts of his own creation.
       
      The Hungry Ghosts is a beautifully written, dazzling story of family, wealth and the long reach of the past. It shows how racial, political and sexual differences can tear apart both a country and the human heart—not just once, but many times, until the ghosts are fed and freed.

      Bio

      SHYAM SELVADURAI is the acclaimed author of the novels Funny Boy, which was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award and was a national bestseller, and Cinnamon Gardens, which was shortlisted for the Trillium Award and sold around the world. He has also written a novel for young adults, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Selvadurai now lives in Toronto and Sri Lanka. You can visit him at www.shyamselvadurai.com.

      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews

      “Shyam Selvadurai returns with [a] novel of raw human longing. . . . his stripped-down prose focuses on the deeply personal with precision and insight. . . . All of Selvadurai’s characters are nuanced with motivations that stem not from their political or ethnic roles, but from raw human longing. . . . Selvadurai’s work reminds me that the contemporary novel doesn’t necessarily have to resort to thrills or high jinks in order to find its usefulness. Here, it unforgettably explores the interplay between individual intention and the tragedy of a nation’s history.”
      The Globe and Mail

      “This young romance, like something out of an Edmund White novel, is beautifully and powerfully imagined. . . . Calling to mind the work of Indo-American writer Jhumpa Lahiri, Selvadurai does an excellent job contrasting Sri Lanka and Canada.”
      Winnipeg Free Press

      “From his debut novel, 1994’s Funny Boy, to his latest, The Hungry Ghosts, [Selvadurai’s] meditated on his birth country’s fraught mélange of history, politics and religion while developing a style that’s anything but bare bones and laconic.”
      The National Post

      “Both Shivan’s story and Sri Lanka’s rich history are told through simple yet evocative prose, and Selvadurai’s first-person narrative, with its modernized Dickensian tone, is an effective storytelling device. . . . The Hungry Ghosts is an accomplished, resonant novel. The solid characters and diverse events, the Sri Lankan and Torontonian flavours, and the poetic conclusion will leave readers feeling as though they’ve lived a thousand and one stories, and lacked for little.”
      Quill & Quire

      “Moving seamlessly across time and place, the narrative contemplates karma, the belief that past misdeeds can generate spiritual debts that shackle future outcomes. . . . Rendered in visceral detail, locale plays a significant role here: Colombo, Toronto, and Vancouver each possess their own unique temperament. . . . The Hungry Ghosts is lustrous in its depictions of duty, dislocation, and the ways love and relationships haunt the human heart.”
      Georgia Straight

      “An epic novel. . . . [that] adds a new maturity of tone, scope, language and character.”
      Montreal Gazette

      The Hungry Ghosts [is] a haunting story of longing, family ties and forgiveness. . . . Compelling.”
      Times Colonist

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