It's Giller time! The shortlist of books nominated for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize is out. The winner gets $70,000 and the bragging rights that come with taking Canada's richest literary prize (past winners include giants like Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler and Alice Munro).
Here are this year's five shortlisted books:
- Going Home Again by Dennis Bock: Toronto writer Bock is best known for two historical novels, The Ash Garden and The Communist's Daughter. His third novel is about two very different brothers who reunite after two decades apart: Charlie, who spends his life travelling to manage language schools that he's set up around the world, and Nate, who's in the middle of a messy divorce.
- Hellgoing by Lynn Coady: Coady, who lives in Edmonton, was shortlisted for the prize two years ago for her novel The Antagonist. Hellgoing is a collection of eight short stories about characters who feel disconnected from the world around them — like a nun who has to persuade a hospital-bound girl to stop starving herself to death out of a religious conviction.
- Cataract City by Craig Davidson: Davidson's 2005 short story collection Rust and Bone got a lot of attention last year when two of the stories were adapted into a critically acclaimed feature starring Marion Cotillard as a whale trainer who loses her legs. Cataract City looks at the seamy underbelly of Niagara Falls, the book's title city, through the eyes of two childhood friends.
- Caught by Lisa Moore: After receiving a pair of Giller nods, for 2002's Open and 2005's Alligator, as well as a Man Booker Prize nomination and a Canada Reads win for 2010's February, Lisa Moore has released a literary adventure novel of sorts with Caught. The book tells the story of David Slaney, a big-time pot dealer who escapes from jail and embarks on a cross-country journey to meet up with his partner — and try again to bring more than $1 million worth of pot into the country.
- The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta: Vyleta grew up as the son of two Czech expats in Germany and only moved to Canada in 2007, shortly before the publication of his first novel, Pavel & I, which went on to be translated into eight languages. His latest, The Crooked Maid, picks up some of the characters from his previous novel, The Quiet Twin, and profiles life in Vienna in the wake of the Second World War.
One novel that didn't make the leap to the shortlist: Extraordinary, the new novel about assisted suicide by David Gilmour, the Toronto author and sometime University of Toronto professor who got himself in hot water last month after saying he was "not interested" in teaching books by women.
The 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize will be chosen by a jury of three authors: Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan and Jonathan Lethem. The winner will be unveiled at a gala ceremony in Toronto, and will be broadcast live on CBC at 9 p.m. on November 5.