Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Merci Montreal

Some very generous words for Malarky in Saturday’s Montreal Gazette from Ian McGillis. Molto Merci Montreal for this warm sentiment. I hope some day to descend upon your transit system and do a reading with your people. So invite me! This is not a busking suggestion! Writers can’t busk — what’s up with that? Perhaps they can.

“Glasses were raised among fiction lovers nationwide last week when Anakana Schofield’s sui generis debut Malarky was named winner of the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. All temptation to say “I told you so” based on a rave review last summer and a year-end 10-best selection in a certain Montreal newspaper will be firmly resisted. The choice represents a triumph for both adventurous writing —Malarky’s Our Woman is about as unlike a standard Canadian fiction heroine as you could get—and for small literary publishers: Biblioasis has established itself with remarkable speed as a house of unerringly high standards. Congratulations all around.”

Here’s the link to the entire column including an uplifting tale about the gift of 9,115 books and an opportunity to discover what wrtier Elise Moser has been reading.

Malarky on Montreal Gazette’s Top Shelf

“Anakana Schofield’s Malarky (Biblioasis, 225 pages, $19.95) introduced an indelible heroine into our national literature, no less so for the fact that she’s Irish. Inhabiting the sometimes confused but always indomitable mind of the grieving and randy Dublin housewife Our Woman, Schofield has created a note-perfect literary joyride, a “voice novel” in the best sense. An unaccountable collective oversight saw Malarky left off all the major prize short lists, but Amazon and other Internet indicators show that Irish-Canadian Schofield is finding readers regardless, and that’s as heartening a story as 2012 has provided.”

Thank you to Ian McGillis of the Montreal Gazette for including Malarky in his year of reading list. I am delighted that my novel is included in our national literature here. I hope she’ll be taught as Canadian Literature and World Literature and Irish Literature. I owe a great deal to this country and Vancouver, the community where I live and its many kind people who have encouraged and inspired me, especially during difficult times. Malarky was Made In Canada. I hope to contribute more to our literature, as I am keen to write into, out of and in response to the where I live. On va voir!
To discover the other books and read Rewind 2012: No shortage of top-shelf titles click here

“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.

Read the whole column here

Montreal Gazette review Malarky: “one of the most vivid fictional creations to come along in years…”

Montreal was very good to Malarky this week. More pan clanging!  Thank you to the Montreal Gazette and Ian McGillis, who had plenty thoughtful warm remarking and framing on Malarky. Some snips below:

“..she’s one of the most vivid fictional creations to come along in years, and a new literary standard bearer for the most under-represented of demographics: the working class middle-aged woman.”

“Toeing the delicate line between tragedy and comedy – the former inherent in the bare facts of Our Woman’s life, the latter in her irrepressible voice – Schofield starts at a pitch of inspiration most novels are lucky to reach at any point and remarkably sustains that level all the way through. The spirit of Joyce’s Molly Bloom hovers around the edges of Malarky, so if you’ve always found the last pages of Ulysses to be the highlight of that difficult masterpiece, you might just find Molly’s modern-day descendant in Our Woman. Others will be reminded of another Irish classic, lately fallen into unjust neglect: Edna O’Brien’s 1960 novel The Country Girls. But here’s one Irish country girl who has grown up and seen and done things O’Brien’s could never have envisioned.”

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