October 1, 2012 (Toronto)—Will Ferguson’s 419 is among the five finalists chosen for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize, announced today at a press conference in Toronto. Published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada, in March 2012 to overwhelming critical acclaim, 419 is a vividly drawn suspenseful novel, both epic in its sweep and intimate in its portrayal of human endurance.
The Globe and Mail called it "riveting," "provocative," and a "deeply ironic, thoroughly engaged politico–philosophical thriller" and the Toronto Star raved, "Ferguson dazzles us in 419 with an intricately woven, urgent story …heart-wrenching, fascinating, and scary. A thriller with a raw nerve ending."
In 419, Will Ferguson takes readers deep inside the world’s most insidious internet scam. The title refers to the section in the Nigerian Criminal Code that deals with obtaining money or goods under false pretences. When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor, discovers her father has died after getting caught up in one such swindle, she sets out to track down—and corner—her father’s killer. Woven into Laura’s journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit.
The Giller Prize jury citation remarks that 419 "points in the direction of something entirely new: the Global Novel. It is a novel emotionally and physically at home in the poverty of Lagos and in the day–to–day of North America. It tells us the ways in which we are now bound together and reminds us of the things that will always keep us apart. Ferguson is a true travel writer, his eye attuned to the last horrible detail. He is also a master at dialogue and suspense. It is tempting to put 419 in some easy genre category, but that would only serve to deny its accomplishment and its genius."