“The Scotiabank Giller longlist: fine, but Malarky is missing” Montreal Gazette
Oh my. This is a very sweet sentiment. Thank you to Ian McGillis of the Montreal Gazette. Book Prize shortlists however are akin to the likelihood of nabbing a seat on the Space Shuttle, hence I have/had/will always have zero expectations.
Also, Book Prize culture usually insists on single conversations about single books. I am more concerned with the continuum and Malarky being in conversation with other books (as she is within her text) and/or art forms for that matter. The poets are reading her, I hope some day maybe Malarky will be taught and new understandings and interrogations can emerge.
I commend Mr McGillis for his column though because I have felt similiarly impassioned about the lack of people reading Helen Potrebenko’s novel Taxi! I think his column could be the heartiest defence I receive in this lifetime!
Now, though, for my big beef: Where on earth is Anakana Schofield’s Malarky? The reception this years-in-gestation debut novel got last spring, both word-of-mouth and in the media, seemed to mark a rare case of a small-press literary novel getting widespread attention purely on the basis of its merits. There was no particular “hook” to this Ireland-set story of a (maybe) mad housewife other than its being so plainly, inarguably good; on a sentence-by-sentence level, and in its flawlessly sustained voice, it grabbed me as few novels have in recent years. Yes, I know, these things are subjective, but I’m frankly baffled by its exclusion. If it doesn’t make the GG list I’ll start to wonder if there’s something in the water, either mine or everyone else’s.