The 2011 Giller Prize shortlist has been announced.

  • The Free Word, by David Bezmozgis (my review here)
  • The Antagonists, by Lynn Coady
  • The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt (my review here)
  • Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan
  • Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, by Zsuzsi Gartner (my review here)
  • The Cat’s Table, by Michael Ondaatje

One thing is for sure, the judges gave themselves a lot of good books to choose from. We were very impressed with the longlist. Sad to say, though, that from our discussions (aside from Kevin, most of us have read only a third or so of the longlist), the books we thought good but not great made the shortlist. I’m particularly lost as to why Gartner’s short story collection made the shortlist. I thought it was full of mixed metaphors that made no sense (and not in a good way). I’m also pretty sure that, of the two Westerns, the deWitt is the lesser (I have not read the new Vanderhaege book, but I’m pretty sure I’ll think it is a better book that The Sisters Brothers). Well, I guess we can’t be happy all the time, and I’m still thrilled at the great reading that the Giller panel gave us this year.

The Shadow Giller jury has been very impressed with the longlist and supplied their own thoughts on a potential shortlist yesterday (we were way off! getting only The Free World right), so please click here to go to KfC’s webpage to see our thoughts. Kevin will be updating that post later on to share some of our thoughts on the official shortlist.

Well, I don’t have a lot of reading to do to get this shortlist out of the way. I think KfC has to read only one title — Better Living Through Plastic Explosives. I have The Cat’s Table on had, so that will be next. I hope to get to a few of the long list titles that missed the cut, in particular Vanderhaege’s A Good Man and Laferriere’s The Return.

The winner will be announced November 8, 2011.

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