The Sentimentalists

Johanna Skibsrud

The Sentimentalists

The Sentimentalists tells the story of the daughter of a rootless Vietnam vet who wants to get to know her father in his final years.

Johanna Skibsrud first started working on this - her debut novel - while finishing her master of arts degree at Concordia University. Five years later, at only age 30, Skibsrud was catapulted to Canadian literary stardom after winning the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize.


The house my father left behind in Fargo, North Dakota, was never really a house at all. Always, instead, it was an idea of itself. A carpenter's house. A work in progress. So that even after we moved him north to Casablanca, and his Fargo home was dragged away - the lot sold to a family from Billings, Montana -- my father was always saddened and surprised if the place was remembered irreverently, as if it had been a separate and incidental thing; distinct from the rest of our lives. In this way, he remained, until the end, a house carpenter. If only in the way that he looked at things. As if all objects existed in blueprint; in different stages of design or repair.

From: The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud. Copyright © Johanna Skibsrud, 2011. Reprinted by Permission of W.W. Norton & Co.