The Sentimentalists Paperback – Oct 1 2009
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As a poet, [Johanna Skibsrud] knows how to pare a story down to its essence and infuse every thread with meaning. . . . The tale is so true and poignant that, as in the moment when the narrator flew over the water, readers, too, will want to stay there as long as possible. " --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Johanna Skibsrud’s first poetry collection, Late Nights With Wild Cowboys, was published in 2008 by Gaspereau Press and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award. She has also published a novel with Gaspereau Press entitled The Sentimentalists. Originally from Scotsburn, Nova Scotia, she now lives in Montreal.
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Top Customer Reviews
Clause comma clause comma clause dash clause dash clause comma clause semi-colon clause full stop. This would be followed usually by two short phrases (three or four words) each ending in a full stop. Also, the new paragraph editing mark appeared at the start of every few paragraphs and was followed by several paragraphs which started with an indent. Then the paragraph mark again. I'd love to know what that was all about. I was a newspaper sub-editor for years and I kept having this urge to edit out the things that irritated me. Maybe most readers don't notice that kind of thing but I do. That aside, I think the chaotic and blurred picture of the Vietnam War was well presented along with the child's viewpoint in the first couple of parts of the novel. The author captured that sense of a child simply not noticing the things that were unfolding in the adult world around her. So I gave it four stars because I think it's worth reading and has something to say. However, I don't think it should have won the Giller.
I've since read "The Matter With Morris", another contender, and it was a much more mature, solid entry and much more worth the reading time.
That said, it's worth a read, if only to give you hope that you, too, could win the Giller.
With respect to the novel's overall plot, I've read reviews where the reviewer praised the slow build to a big finish, but that wasn't my impression. The father's experiences in Vietnam are descibed in such vague terms (deliberately, of course) that it isn't really clear what took place or how these events subsequently influenced the rest of his life. That's not necessarily bad, as it does say something interesting about the nature of memory and about how we construct a narrative after something happens that may be linked to "what really happened" only indirectly. And about how hard a person's life is to figure out, let alone to describe in a novel. I just don't know how successfully this strategy was used in The Sentimentalists.
Overall, not a bad book at all, but I think the fact that it was awarded the Giller might say more about the people who made up the jury this year than it does about the book itself.
Most recent customer reviews
Sorry, but this book fell far short of my expectations for a great read. At best I would rank it 'okay.'Published on Nov. 15 2013 by margotchives
I should have read the reviews before picking up this novel. But I am glad I am not the only one who could not get throught this book. Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2013 by Toby
As I started reading "Sentimentalists," I peeked at some of the reader reviews (which I don't usually do) and was surprised at the low scores. Read morePublished on May 12 2013 by Chris
Given the award and the subject matter it should have been a breeze to read; but the use of the word "that" was overwhelming. Read morePublished on July 18 2012 by Hilary West
Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner in 2010
Haunted by the vivid horrors of the Vietnam War, exhausted from years spent battling his memories,... Read more
How this book won the Giller prize I will never know. Where to start with how awful this book is...
- the writing style is terrible. And I do mean terrible. Read more
In 2010 Johanna Skibsrud won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the youngest author to date to take the coveted literary award, for her debut novel, The Sentimentalists. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2011 by Lorina Stephens
I was so excited to read The Sentimentalists after all the press and I loved the friendliness that was happening in Canadian publishing because of Gaspereau press. Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2011 by SoAndSo