Friday, March 12, 2010

Canada Reads: Epilogue

It seems the panelists figured out the answer to the question of what Canada Reads should be about: This year's winner is Nikolski by Nicholas Dickner (first published in French), which was defended by Michel Vezina.

Of the five books up for the title - a list that also included Generation X by Douglas Coupland, Fall on Your Knees, The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy and Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott - Nikolski was probably the only unknown novel. Generation X, Fall on Your Knees and The Jade Peony have spent many weeks on the bestseller list (and are sure to turn up there again), and Good to a Fault, despite being heralded as the least-known of the novels by some of the panelists, actually won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and was short-listed for the Giller. Which brings us back to Nikolski, Dickner's first novel, and relatively unknown in English-speaking Canada (it was translated by Lazer Lederhendler).

So, will I buy this book? Most likely. I enjoyed the debate about its characters and the way it made suggestions about what a family is. I will probably try to find a copy in the original French, though, just to get the full effect.

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