"a solid debut and a beautiful tribute to a father-daughter relationship." (Globe and Mail 2010-10-15)
"Skibsrud knows what she’s doing: The slow fuse of the novel’s first half turns out to be a very effective setup for the explosive second." (National Post 2010-11-13)
"The writing here is trip-wire taut as the exploration of guilt, family and duty unfolds." (Giller Jury 2010-11-09)
"[Skibsrud's] book is an affirmation of why we still try -- why we still use words to reclaim history, to imagine another's pain, to hold onto what is human in the face of violence and chaos. The Sentimentalists may be profoundly sad, but Skibsrud also reminds us that sadness is not the same as hopelessness." (Winnipeg Review 2011-01-06)
"The Sentimentalists beautifully examines the profound affect memories can have not only on an individual, but on all those close to him...The poet's touch is evident throughout...Skibsrud approaches the English language more like an art form, and less like a science. Her carefully composed passages use a sort of philosophical prose to understanding her topics of memory...The Sentimentalists, with its poetic elegance, eloquently describes the never-ending struggle to remember, to simplify and to understand." (Critics at Large 2011-03-02)
"Napoleon Haskell's life has always been a mystery to his daughter -- he was a drifter, an alcoholic and an ex-marine who has never spoken about what happened one night in Vietnam. As he slips into senility, his daughter tries to pull together the crumbling fragments of his memory into a narrative that will explain their dysfunctional family." (More Magazine 2011-06-01)
"A hypnotic meditation on memory, it reaffirms the potential for storytelling to offer clarity and redemption." (Hirsh Sawhney New York Times 2011-07-01)
"This is less a novel with a single plot than the stories of three characters and their layered, intersecting identities...I recommend it for the book it is rather than the story it's become." (Geist 2011-07-01)
"This novel takes a quirky and lyrical look at the long-lasting effects of the Vietnam war on a family and their friends across both the American and Canadian borders." (Winnipeg Free Press 2011-08-13)
"...a slender but deeply contemplative novel..." (NOW Magazine 2011-10-20) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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.
Sorry, but this book fell far short of my expectations for a great read. At best I would rank it 'okay.'Published 21 months ago 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 23 months ago 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