The shortlists for the National Book Awards in the US were announced. The fiction list interests me most, so here it is.
Mischa Berlinski - Fieldwork (A thriller set in northern Thailand with anthropologists and missionaries competing with each other for influence over the hill tribes.)You can see all the shortlists of books in all categories on the NBA website, and then click through to read more about the selected titles and authors.
Lydia Davis - Varieties of Disturbance (A collection of "spare and always surprising" short fiction. )
Joshua Ferris - Then We Came to the End (A comedy set in the world of advertising.)
Denis Johnson - Tree of Smoke ("An epic novel of bungled espionage and small mercies in the Vietnam era.")
Jim Shepard - Like You’d Understand ("Eleven first-person stories that offer an eclectic overview of the human experience.")
The finalists will be announced on 14th November.
The other award is Canada's Scotiabank Giller prize, which provides us with another tasty list of novels:
Elizabeth Hay - Late Nights on Air (The lady is compared to Annie Proulx and Isabel Allende - that's enough for me!)More information about the prize and the individual titles here. The winner will be announced November 6th.
Michael Ondaatje - Divisadero (I'm still wondering how one of my favourite authors could have missed the Booker boat completely, so I'm glad to see it here. I have this one lined up to read.)
Daniel Poliquin - A Secret Between Us ("An epic tale of a wartorn society in the midst of astonishing transformation.")
M.G. Vassanji - The Assassin’s Song (Vassanji has won the Giller Prize twice before, and I have a copy of his earlier The In-Between World of Vikram Lall - acquired at a times warehouse sale! - waiting to be read.* This novel is described as a "memorable, melancholy family saga.")
Alissa York - Effigy ("A stunning novel of loss, memory, despair and deliverance by one of Canada’s best young fiction writers, set on a Mormon ranch in nineteenth-century Utah.")
*One of the judges for the Giller is our friend, Camilla Gibb, who recommended Vassanji's novel to me when I asked her advice about the best Canadian fiction to read.