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The Sentimentalists Paperback – Oct 1 2009

2.1 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gaspereau Press; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554470781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554470785
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #905,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The publicity this book has received, and the fact that it is award winning, reminds me of the accolades received by many academy award winning movies. It is evident that literary scholars find this book a wonderful read. As an individual who reads books for entertainment, I found this book to be slow and without flow. Half way into the book I found myself reading the back cover to ensure that I had purchased the book whose description I had read - the synopsis on the back sounds very intriguing, but the book seemed aimless. Again, this may be because I am just a `lay person' and as such am unable to fully appreciate the author's literary genius. Similar to leaving some Oscar award winning movies, after completing this book I am left asking myself what all the fuss is about.
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Format: Paperback
A friend whose opinion I respect loaned me this book. I'd not heard of the author (hardly surprising as it's her first novel) but I was interested as it had won the Giller. I think the author had a story to tell and I enjoyed most of it. The quality of writing is good but I found the punctuation irritating and a barrier to the flow of the book. There was a repetitive punctuation theme running through that went something like this...
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.
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By Dorothyanne Brown TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 24 2011
Format: Paperback
I eagerly bought a copy of this book as an ebook when I heard the press about it. I lost entire patience with it halfway through - phrases purple with tristesse, sloppy editing, and a thin storyline that was totally inadequate for such a prize. I actually pointed out phrases that made me laugh to a stranger on the train, unable to believe such a book had received such aplomb.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I've read 160 of the 216 pages and could not push myself to read any further. Wordiness without saying much of anything, frustrating punctuation and sentences that run on forever. Giller award? Really? I'll not purchase reading material based on a literary award again.
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Format: Paperback
I was really excited when I bought my copy of "The Sentimentalist." Giller Prize winners are usually a safe purchase. Not so this time I'm afraid. The poetic writing so highly praised by the critics gets in the way of what could have been a great story. By the middle of the book I had to force myself to keep reading. The writing is so awkward I never connected with any of the characters and the emotional aspect of the story only existed on the back cover. The second half of the book picks up a little for a short time and then falls flat. I was glad when it was over. Save your money. Visit your library if you really want to read this.
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Format: Paperback
I was anxious to read this book, mostly because of the Giller prize but also because the author is originally from the Maritimes. As well, I liked the backstory with Gaspereau Press (how they negotiated with other publishers to make more copies of the book available without sacrificing their principles too much). I was a bit disappointed with the book itself though, but maybe it's only because I was expecting too much. The writing style was like some poetry I've read: precise (excessively?), analytical, and a bit choppy, with contorted sentences. Lots of clauses, commas and dashes, but instead of assisting the story it felt like the author was perhaps trying too hard (maybe that was the point, and I just missed it?). On the other hand, the author exhibits real awareness and insight regarding the psychology of the characters and their relations with each other.
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.
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