Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" wins the Giller!

Astonishing, but exciting! Of the five books shortlisted for the Giller Prize, Vincent Lam's, "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" was the only one I have read and to be perfectly honest I didn't think it was prize worthy, but I am perfectly willing to eat crow and do a reread. Also, I am hoping that this recognition will help boost sales of his other important book, "The Flu Pandemic and You: A Canadian Guide" that he wrote along with Colin Lee.

From the Globe and Mail:

A collection of 12 short stories about a quartet of University of Toronto medical school graduates has won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for excellence in English-language Canadian fiction.

Torontonian Vincent Lam, himself an emergency-room physician, received the $40,000 prize and a small bronze statue at a lavish, televised gala at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel last night. His book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, a debut work, beat out four other finalists -- two women and two men -- for Canada's richest literary prize. Each runner-up receives $2,500.

In their citation, the three Giller judges -- former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, famed short-story author (and two-time Giller winner) Alice Munro, and novelist Michael Winter -- said "this series of interlinked stories is a profound and meaningful glimpse into a world which seems on the surface to be purely medical, but leads us into the metaphorical. The characters and the situations are unexpectedly bound together and make us, as readers, not just witnesses to, but participants in the world that has been created for us."

Dr. Lam's victory was a surprise. But then any other winner would have been a surprise, too, in what was easily the hardest-to-predict joust in the 13-year history of the award. Previous Giller prizes -- named after Doris Giller, the late wife of the prize's founder, Montreal-born businessman Jack Rabinovitch -- have gone to either well-established writers such as Ms. Atwood and Richard L. Wright, or to authors associated with larger publishing houses, like last year's winner, David Bergen, published by McClelland & Stewart, and the first winner, in 1994, M.J. Vassanji, also affiliated with M & S.

If any book could have been considered a "pre-game favourite" it was Mr. Hage's kinetic saga of a young man's violent struggle for survival during the Lebanese civil war. It is also up for this year's $15,000 Governor-General's Award for Fiction, to be announced Nov. 21. Dr. Lam's Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is bound to vault on to the nation's bestseller lists. A confidential study released last month by BookNet Canada, based on a survey of 650 retailers, found that a Giller Prize nod "increases sales more than any other prize in Canada -- twice as much as winning the Governor-General's Award for Fiction."

Last night's ceremony
was hosted by Justin Trudeau, 34, the oldest son of Canada's 15th Prime Minister.


Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

I was going to mention on your post yesterday that I was hoping Lam would win but then I got interrupted at work! I was very pleased to see that he had won.

ML said...

Wow! A winner! It looks interesting. So this is a reread for you? Maybe it'll be different the second time around.

beenzzz said...

Too bad an unworthy book won....though it does look quite interesting.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Heather

He wasn't one of my favorites, but you know what, I am glad he won. I think he will grow into a wonderful writer, besides, how can you argue with Margaret Atwood's protege? :)

Hi ml!

I bought the book because I am an ER volunteer and it looked like it was right up my alley, but it didn't meets my expectations. Perhaps the timing wasn't right, I remember I was reading it between shifts in the hospital and perhaps that's why I didn't care for it too much, I don't know. I will definitely have to reread it.

Hi, beenzzz

Now that I think about it, this is an amazing accomplishment for Vincent Lam, after all, this is his first book. Nice to see a doctor when a literary prize!

Lotus Reads said... many typos today both in my post and comments. Guess my mind is racing and my fingers can't keep up! Did any of you notice the reference to "humble crow" in my write-up? :)))

Thank goodness for editing tools!

Beloved dreamer said...

Lotus, I agree that De Niros Game would have been my choice also.
I would like to read it. I must see if Amazon has it yet.

Foodie's Hope said...

Blood letting sounds scary:D Must be good, will try and find it in the library.Thanks Lotus!

anocturne said...

@everyone: my 2 cents bit - i liked Bloodletting - it was novel - but i don't think it was worth the Giller. to be honest, i was surprised at the nomination itself. :(

speaking of typos, Lotus, did you hear about the controversy with Hege's book? it's supposed to be just full of it!

Princess Jibi said...

Hassar is a fish lol, you never eat it?? it has a hard shell like over it instead of scale like most fish... I am feeling a bit better now, but my head is hurting though.. thnx for carin...

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Beloved I'm sure Amazon carries it. If I get myself a copy, I'll be sure to send it on to you.

Hi Asha I agree, it is a fantastic premise, especially now that shows like "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" are so popular.

Hi anocturne I heard there were typos and that it could have happened because it was published by a smaller press - still, that's no excuse!

Hi, Princess No, I've never heard of Hassar, it sounds really interesting. Can you think of a couple of books set in Guyana that I can read? I'm dying to know more about the culture and the people.

Library Lady said...

Ew, I can't wait to read this! Thanks for reminding me! :)