The Tiger's Wife
For those people not in the book industry or unfamiliar with the various alignments of publishing houses, allow me a moment of explanation. In my capacity as a district sales manager for Random House Inc, I sell both publishing groups owned by Random House--Knopf, Doubleday, Vintage/Anchor, etc--and I also sell books from independent presses that contract with Random House for distribution services. Other Press is one of those smaller presses, one that specializes in literary fiction and nonfiction. The press publishes books that challenge readers as well as entertain and educate, and the team working for Other Press regularly manages to find surprising, wonderful books from around the world. My top pick for 2011 is one of those books.
While Galore was published in the United States in 2011, it was an earlier release in Canada. There it won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction. It's full of mythology and sea yarns and terrific characters. It's a book that I would love to see illustrated because Michael Crummey creates so many amazing images that have lingered in my mind all year. Oh, and you know I love my Canadian fiction. Galore is my favorite book of the year.