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First Novel Award Shortlist
Kim Echlin
Margaret Gibson
Allan Levine
Rabindranath Maharaj
Tim Wynveen
Angel Falls,
by Tim Wynveen (Key Porter)

The Blood Libel,
by Allan Levine (Great Plains Fiction)

Elephant Winter,
by Kim Echlin (Penguin)

Homer in Flight,
by Rabindranath Maharaj (Goose Lane)

Opium Dreams,
by Margaret Gibson (McClelland & Stewart)

selected by Eva Tihanyi, first novels columnist for Books in Canada

Here are some fragments of the short reviews of these books:

Angel Falls: "Wynveen's use of The Golden Bough is one of the most interesting aspects of Angel Falls.. It is his notable accomplishment that he succeeds not only in holding the reader right to the end of Ben's tragic story but even manages to introduce a hopeful note into.a dark vision." (September 1997)

The Blood Libel: "Allan Levine delivers something far more substantial than a murder mystery.in this story of politics and prejudice.. The fair, balanced perspective distinguishes The Blood Libel and makes it the intelligent book that it is-without for a moment detracting from its intensity." (March 1998)

Elephant Winter: ".original, emotionally resonant.. Death, art, language; the bond between mothers and daughters, people and animals; scientific versus intuitive understanding: Elephant Winter is about all this and more. Stylistically assured, entirely captivating.." (April 1997)

Homer in Flight: ".an intelligent, balanced, deeply felt book-recommended reading for anyone seriously interested in what it means to be an immigrant rather than a tourist..Maharaj's eye for characterization is impeccable, as is his ability to find humour amid the grim, the sordid, and the dreary." (November 1997)

Opium Dreams: "What Gibson pulls off is an enormous feat of empathy, of connection. And she writes in a voice that rings absolutely true.. Gibson does not look away. And those who look with her will gaze upon a terrifying darkness, unexpected beautiful in its rendering." (October 1997)


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