Book Look

book look

Contributed by Mellissa Forget of the Library

Did you know your campus Library carries the latest 2017 Giller Prize shortlisted novels? If you’re looking for something to get you through this long winter we’re having, feel free to ask us to put a title aside for you. Happy reading!

If you want to us to put a title on reserve, you can do so through email at library@stclaircollege.ca, or by phone at (519) 972-272, ext. 4728.

“Transit” by Rachel Cusk: Faye has moved to London with her two young sons in the wake of family collapse. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions — personal, moral, artistic, practical — as she endeavours to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city she is made to confront aspects of living she has, until now, avoided, and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to re-attach herself to, and believe in, life.

Filtered through the impersonal gaze of the keenly intelligent Faye, Transit sees Rachel Cusk offer up a penetrating and moving reflection on childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the moral problems of personal responsibility and the mystery of change. In this precise yet epic novel, Cusk manages to describe the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life, through a narrative near-silence that draws language toward it. She captures with unsettling restraint and honesty the longing to both inhabit and flee one’s life, and the wrenching ambivalence animating our desire to feel real.

“Minds of Winter” by Ed O’Loughlin: It begins with a chance encounter at the top of the world.

Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson have each arrived in Inuvik, Canada, about 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both are in search of answers about a family member: Nelson for his estranged older brother, and Fay for her vanished grandfather. Driving Fay into town from the airport on a freezing January night, Nelson reveals a folder left behind by his brother. An image catches Fay’s eye: a clock she has seen before. Soon Fay and Nelson realize that their relatives have an extraordinary and historic connection — a secret shared in one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of polar expedition. This is the riddle of the “Arnold 294” chronometer, which re-appeared in Britain more than a hundred years after it was lost in the Arctic with the ships and men of Sir John Franklin’s Northwest Passage expedition. The secret history of this elusive timepiece, Fay and Nelson will discover, ties them and their families to a journey that echoes across two centuries.

In a feat of extraordinary scope and ambition, Ed O’Loughlin moves between a frozen present and an ever-thawing past. Minds of Winter is a novel about ice and time and their ability to preserve or destroy, of mortality and loss and our dreams of transcending them.

“Son of a Trickster” by Eden Robinson: Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burn-out kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his Mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby) - and now she's dead.

Jared can't count on his Mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his Dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only 16 but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat … and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him - even when he's not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don't.

“I Am A Truck” by Michelle Winters: A tender but lively debut novel about a man, a woman, and their Chevrolet dealer.

Agathe and Rejean Lapointe are about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary when Rejean's beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road - with no trace of Rejean. Agathe handles her grief by fondling the shirts in the Big and Tall department at Henderman's Family Apparel and carrying on a relationship with a cigarette survey. As her hope dwindles, Agathe falls in with her spirited coworker Debbie, who teaches Agathe about rock and roll, and with Martin Bureau, the one man who might just know the truth about Rejean's fate.

Reminiscent of 2015 Canada Reads finalist “And the Birds Rained Down” and “Gone Girl”, I Am A Truck is a funny and moving portrayal of Acadian love and loyalty.

… And the winner of the 2017 Giller Prize is …

“Bellevue Square” by Michael Redhill: From award-winning and best-selling author Michael Redhill comes a darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity - and then her life - when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park.

Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. Apparently it hangs out in Kensington Market, where it sometimes buys churros and shops for hats. Jean doesn't rattle easy, not like she used to. She's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving business, and Toronto is a fresh start for the whole family. She certainly doesn't want to get involved in anything dubious, but still … why would two different strangers swear up and down they'd just seen her - with shorter hair furthermore?

Jean's curiosity quickly gets the better of her, and she visits the market, but sees no one who looks like her. The next day, she goes back to look again. And the day after that. Before she knows it, she's spending an hour here, an afternoon there, watching, taking notes, obsessing and getting scared. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the market's only park, she expands her surveillance, making it known she'll pay for information or sightings. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants - the regulars of Bellevue Square - are eager to contribute to Jean's investigation. But when some of them start disappearing, it becomes apparent that her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate stranger than death.

ALSO, if you can’t get enough of current political affairs, as an added bonus I would like to mention that we also have the latest exposé on the POTUS: “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff.

With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial Presidency of our time.

Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country, and the world, has witnessed a stormy, outrageous and absolutely mesmerizing Presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

This riveting and explosive account of Trump’s administration provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office, including:

• What President Trump’s staff really thinks of him;

• What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama

• Why FBI Director James Comey was really fired;

• Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn’t be in the same room;

• Who is really directing the Trump administration’s strategy in the wake of Bannon’s firing;

• The secret to communicating with Trump;

• What the Trump administration has in common with the movie “The Producers”.

Never before in history has a Presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.