Monday, November 17, 2008

Sour grapes and bathos on the Giller for 2008

Power currupts," said Lord Acton. "And absolute power corrupts absolutely".--Hear that Dick and Carl Rove in your bunker?
Watch it. Dick still has his trusty blunderbuss.

But now we come to literary power in Canada. How come I ain't got any any more, and I'm still corrupt.?

Ah, literary power.

Joseph Boyden wins 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Updated Tue. Nov. 11 2008 10:01 PM ET News Staff

Novelist Joseph Boyden is the winner of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize, one of the country's most prestigious literary awards. Boyden receives $50,000 in prize money for his book "Through Black Spruce."

He thanked his mother for his win, saying that through her "selfless love and hard work" she helped guide him on his proper path.

The announcement was made at the 15th annual Scotiabank Giller Prize gala. Hosted by Seamus O'Regan, co-anchor of CTV's Canada AM, the black-tie literary event held at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel was broadcast live on Bravo! and on CTV's Video Player.

Boyden's win puts the spotlight on a new wave of Canadian writers who bring divergent themes and world perspectives to their books.

Two women and three men were nominated for this year's prize.

Montreal writer Rawi Hage became toast of the fall awards season with his sophomore novel, "Cockroach." This book about a lowly outsider looking for meaning in his life was also shortlisted for a Writers' Trust Award and the Governor General's Literary Award.

Well, congratulations to Joseph Boyden. A true Canadian this time. Aboriginal. About as Canadian as you can get.

And power to the Giller judges who finally seem to have seen the light.

For the longest time, it seems, Rawi Hage's Cockroach had been all the rage, especially when he won the mammoth IMPAC prize in Ireland.

Says one cruel wag commenting on the Giller win, "At last. They have killed the Cockroach. Splat."

Heh. No wonder I was getting all that flak from anonymous book editors when I criticized Mr. Hage's subject matter.

"Nothing for you, Ivan if you ever get to our publishing house."

Sheesh. I haven't even submitted yet. A rejection before I even find a stamp?

Why you anonymous little pipsqueak with a grammatical mistake in every sentence. Heaven forbid you should ever be my editor. You write like I make love. All speed and fury of the attack. No skill.

Moreover, some people on the judging committe at the Giller know me, and I know them. Who the hell are you you illiterate little nance?

Ah but I know why I was attacked. Unbeknownst to me, they were priming Mr. Hage for a second run at the Giller after he won the IMPAC. If my little scribbles had an efffect on that, then I am sorry. I guess everybody betting on Mr. Hage was congnizant of Murphy's Law. "If anything can go wrong, it will."
It did.

I had said, "I liked Cockroach better when it was written by Kafka."

Hate to splat a Cockroach when it's down.

Mr. Hage himself is no cockroach. His life reminds me of a Newfoundland aphorism:
"Every man's gotta eat a tonna shit." Well, there was a time in my childhood too that I had wished somebody would change my diet. No monopoly on war and suffering.

Overall, Mr. Hage is indeed a skilled writer.

And a Christian.

But remember Exodus 20:2–17

Thou shalt not steal.



benjibopper said...

haven't read cockroach or boyden's book either. what's boyden's about? said...

I have only read two chapters of Cockroach. Actually, surprisingly good writing...Though I can't quite identify,even I've done my share of dumpster crawling.

As for Joseph Boydens book, I must say I haven't read it yet.

Here is a Chapters blurb:

Through Black Spruce
Author: Joseph Boyden

List Price: $34.00 You Save: 37%

Online Price: $21.42

From internationally acclaimed author Joseph Boyden comes an astonishingly powerful novel of contemporary aboriginal life, full of the dangers and harsh beauty of both forest and city.


I have seen Mr. Boyden interviewed on CTV. He is N/A Indian with a strong sreak of Scottish.

BTW, Maybe Charles Gramlich should look him up. He now lives in New Orleans. Says it gives him northern perspective while he lives in the South.
...Actually, who would want to live in Nunavit anyway? The blackflies will kick you to death in the summer.And winter? Not quite the Riviera, or Mississip.

Intellingent guy, and of course, highly literate

Donnetta Lee said...

Reminds me of something we used to say in public health-back in the day when I worked that circuit-eat so much s**t that you learn to love the taste. D said...

Well, I think William S. Burroghs knew personally, at least one coprophile.

Hell. I guess you have to share.

Like Burroghs said, in the language of junkies, "Wouldn't you?"

Charles Gramlich said...

coprophile. Now there's a word you don't hear every day.

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

Ivan, thanks for the kick in the pants. Got me going again.

Anyway, glad to see you are at your very best! I do adore sharp criticism, just ask some of my home town friends. It always gets my blood frothing. Too bad the Quixotic smile I wear even in the face of people's worst does not translate on the screen.




close, but....


...too Brady Bunch--probably looks like Bobby after walking into the girl's room at the wrong/right time. That's not Quixotic at all...

or is it? heheh Not like they were actually his sisters, right?

But I digress.

Wonderful writing, Ivan. And thank you again for the encouragement.

I'll repay in kind, as you know I do.

eric1313 said...

And as for outsiders looking to fit in (but probably never will), I'm about 1/4 into Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. I really dig it.

And Kafka is classic. Like the Russians, he was so far before his time, they should dig his dust up and slap an award on him-at least for him having to spin for so long the friction makes the Dresden fire look like Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree. said...


Well, George Carlin wasn'nt one.

Carlin: "I don't give a shit."

Next para: "How come nobody ever says 'take a shit?"

Smothers Brothers could have said,
'Coprophiles in the crevices!'" said...


Well, dog my cat. You're back and the blog is better for it!

Talking of other matters, in "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers", Tom Wolfe introduced the phenomenon of the "shit-eating grin."

Geez, I grin much. said...

Herman Hesse. Yeah.

I swear I'm on my way up this hill, with the mayor, who wants to help me out, but I won't take the money. Steppenwolf: "Is this the road to Gebersau?"
Seems more like Golgotha.

"I'll get you guys yet!"

benjibopper said...

maybe i'll read boyden's some day. actually they both sound decent. said...

Rawi Hage does read like an American novelist tutored by old Max Perkins, uber-editor in the thirties and forties.
Perkins was the original Thomas Wolfe's editor. Wolve used to write standing up, the page on top of his fridge.
I presume Hage wrote Cockroach atop a dumspster or something.
He did have an editor, a woman at Anansi.
I'll go to Chapters here to try and find Mr. Boyden's book.

benjibopper said...

hard to beat thomas wolfe.

there's a great non-fiction account of that lifestyle called 'another bullshit night in suck city'. i forget the author but it's the real deal - more real than 'a million little pieces' anyway. said...

Funny thing.

That's what the fictional Cockroach guy seems to feel about Montreal as he is crawling around.
"Another bullshit night in suck city."
Myself, I have found Monteal a good place to keep warm.
They kind of take you in there as one of their own. It is, after all, still Canada, though French.

the walking man said...

50k? Not bad for only having a minimum outlay for a pad of paper and a pencil.

No fret old man, some work needs a good shoe in order for the guts of it to be exposed. Even if it pisses some editor, who may have a vested interest, off.

Comes the dawn and the ever present march to the horizon of the 2009 Giller. said...


Giller is blind.

Have they no idea of the kind of man they ignore? Are they blind, lazy, or just stupid. :) said...


To my mind, you are the cleverest, most literary dude out there in blogland. said...

Whoops! That was for eric 1313. Should have put it in the current blog.