My library copy of 419 came in on Monday night, which means I dropped pretty much everything else to take in the final title on the Giller shortlist. And there went my plans to invest time this week on something insightful for this week’s musings…. With all five shortlisted books now in hand, though, I figure I’m entitled to hijack this spot with my Giller prediction.
Since I don’t have a review posted for 419, and because it’s going to take me a few days to frame my response, I’ll give the extremely short version: With the exception of one side story, it felt like a clunker. 419is the one book in this year’s selection that will have me throwing my shoes at the TV should it be announced as the winner. That said, I’ve certainly heard the same opinion voiced about books that I enjoyed from this year’s shortlist. I’m sure there will be some colorful invective from certain quarters no matter who ends up winning.
I find with most awards there tends to be one entry that stands above the rest on a personal level, yet you instinctively feel that it won’t be able to withstand the politics involved in declaring a winner. Ru was by far my favourite book of the five, but I’m well aware that it would be a bold choice by the jury. Despite that, it remains my personal winner for this year.
So which book do I think will take home the Giller? I’m predicting Alix Ohlin’s Inside. Using the crass political calculus of popular appeal, it seems to check off all the necessary boxes. It would also make for a great feel-good story after the almost offensive review it received from the New York Times. And in strictly literary terms, I personally think it has enough substance to merit this year’s Giller.
There it is, then. Alix Ohlin for Inside. Be sure to catch the announcement next Tuesday, and feel free to come back here to either applaud my foresight or point fingers and laugh.