As we all know, literary prizes are never just about which books are the best. There are politics involved and of course the subjective opinions of the judges (this year, the jury is quite interesting consisting of Margaret Atwood, Bob Rae and Colm Toibin). Dinner and a movie are on the line, and we both competitively want to win, so you'll understand that in picking our lists, it's not necessarily about our favourite books, but what we think will be the favourites of the judges (and sometimes what book we think will appeal most to the average Canadian reader - a look at some of the winners in the past might have one thinking that this is a major criteria, though certainly not one I'd agree with).
So here are my 12 picks. I've read two and am halfway through a third, but I can honestly say there isn't a book on the list that I wouldn't want to read if I had the time - they all sound intriguing. I want to emphasize that I have NO inside knowledge about what books have been submitted by the publishers I work for. And I'll keep my pick for ultimate winner a secret for the moment as that always seems to be the kiss of death, and I want to win! We'll see how good a call I've made on Monday. Wish me luck. And please, comment, if there's a terrific Canadian novel published this year that you think should definately be recognized.
The Retreat by David Bergen
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
Stunt by Claudia Dey
The Order of Good Cheer by Bill Gaston
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Cockroach by Rawi Hage
Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey
Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig
Coventry by Helen Humphries
The Push and the Pull by Darryl Whetter