Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Guy Vanderhaeghe’s first novel, My Present Age (1984), was a finalist for the Booker McConnell Prize and has been translated into several languages. Homesick (1989) won the City of Toronto Book Award. Despite these honors, Vanderhaeghe’s short stories were generally more critically esteemed than his novels. This changed when, in 1996, Vanderhaeghe’s novel The Englishman’s Boy, set in Saskatchewan in the 1870’s and Hollywood in the 1920’s, won the coveted Governor-General’s Award for Fiction. In the late 1990’s, international publishers became more interested in Canadian novels, especially in the wake of the success of the film version of Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient (1992). It was hoped that The Englishman’s Boy, with its similar title, would become both a popular and critical success. This did not happen, though the novel sold moderately well. The short-story form, more immune to marketing, may still be the leading forum for Vanderhaeghe’s distinct and incisive talent. Vanderhaeghe has also written two plays, I Had a Job I Liked Once (1992) and Dancock’s Dance (1996).