Cana­dian au­thors pick the year’s best books

The Walrus - - FRONT PAGE - by Dionne Brand madeleine thien won the Sco­tia­bank Giller Prize for 2016’s Do Not Say We Have Noth­ing.

Dionne Brand’s The­ory is a mas­ter­piece. The novel’s speaker, a PHD stu­dent who is per­haps a ge­nius, is work­ing on ex­ten­sive it­er­a­tions of her dis­ser­ta­tion. The project is to be her life’s work.

The nar­ra­tor is also in pur­suit of many kinds of love. The­ory and ac­tion—how to know, per­suade, or mourn and how to be alone and also with love—make their ar­gu­ments through­out the novel, build­ing and dis­man­tling the speaker’s life. I love this book. It holds the world up to be ex­am­ined in an ever-shift­ing light. In a year of as­ton­ish­ing fic­tion—esi Edugyan’s Wash­ing­ton Black, Lisa Moore’s Some­thing for Ev­ery­one, Cather­ine Ler­oux’s Madame Vic­to­ria, Rawi Hage’s Beirut Hell­fire So­ci­ety—the­ory is a book for the ages.

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