419 by Will Ferguson, winner of the 2012 Scotia Giller Prize, is worthy of the attention its getting. A gripping and suspenseful novel with a large cast of fascinating characters, 419 is beautifully and skilfully written. The threads of the plot and the characters are so disparate that the reader wonders how the author can possibly manage to bring them all together, but the writing is so good that the reader is confident that Ferguson will. In the hands of a lesser writer, the plot could seem contrived, but never does … just tragic in so many ways. Nearly everyone becomes a victim of self-delusion, from the Canadian man scammed by a 419er from Nigeria to the 419er himself. The characters themselves are wonderfully drawn, by turns sympathetic, frustrating, pathetic. We’re discussing this novel in our women’s book group in about a month and I’m looking forward to the discussion.