The Giller Prize has often been criticized for its relentless, painful middlebrowism.
However true these accusations might have once been, this year’s Giller Prize is shaping up to be much livelier, with a very strong and quirky longlist.
One of the long listed titles is Alexander MacLeod’s Light Lifting, a book I quite enjoyed. You can read my review of this short story collection here.
Canadian Running is a valuable source of information about plyometric workouts and lightweight sneakers, but it is not normally a journal one turns to for literary analysis. As it turned out, however, the magazine offered exactly the commentary I needed after I read Miracle Mile, a gripping tale about the rivalry-tinged friendship of two competitive runners, which serves as the opening salvo to Light Lifting, Alexander MacLeod’s debut collection of stories, which we learned this week is on the longlist for this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize.
The story is filled with insider dope about the world of track, and MacLeod convincingly evokes the anxiety-suffused ambiance of a bus filled with psyched-up athletes, late-night visits to disreputable doctors who sell borderline legal drugs, the nick and wear that constant training takes on the body.