Thursday, November 07, 2002

I'm two days late with the news: Austin Clarke did in fact win the Giller Prize on Tuesday night. The Polished Hoe got some rave reviews in the Canadian press, but according to this Globe & Mail story the adulation was not universal:

"Yesterday, Calgary novelist, critic and academic Aritha van Herk hailed the long, densely packed, patois-rich work set in the early 1950s on an imaginary West Indian island as 'a brilliant book; I think it's the novel he's been working towards his whole life' — an assessment shared by Montreal reviewer T. F. Rigelhof who, in the Sept. 28 Globe and Mail, called it the 68-year-old writer's 'masterpiece.'

"Others, however, declared it, variously, 'unreadable,' 'impossible' and 'a disaster.' Yesterday, BookTelevision host Daniel Richler, recalled holding a Giller panel last month in which not one of his four panelists 'liked Austin Clarke's book; they disliked it.'"

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