A couple of weeks ago, Al mentioned that Will Ferguson’s novel 419 had won the Giller Prize, and he wondered whether we would be featuring that book on OFF THE SHELF. I read this book when it was first released, it made my hair stand on end.
This is a tale that begins with an email, “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help...”. Many of us have seen those unsolicited emails, and recognize them for the scams they are. Laura, the heroine of the novel, loses her father to suicide after he is drawn into the scam. She sets out to get the money back and this takes her to Nigeria, and into a dangerous world we cannot imagine. We learn a great deal about these scams, and the people caught up in them on both sides of the globe.
There’s an old saying “the truth is stranger than fiction”. When this novel was released months ago, I heard a CBC interview with the author in which he stated that while the book is fiction, it is based in fact. That's the scary part!