2007 WinnerWriters’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize
"'OZY' begins and ends with a curious column of numbers and letters. These, we learn, represent the high scores for a video game called Ballistic Obliteration. If this sounds like a puerile or questionable idea for a story it is all the more to Craig Boyko’s credit that he takes this material and makes it transcend every expectation and elevates it to the status of true art. The story Boyko gives us is funny, bittersweet, and very moving. With great skill and economy, he presents a large ensemble cast of characters and gives each one a role in his idiosyncratic and uncommonly suspenseful narrative. Using the video game as a point of departure, Boyko somehow manages to capture, celebrate, and mourn the passing of childhood and also to reflect upon the enigma of mortality. 'I was good at something once,' the eponymous OZY remarks near the end of the story. 'Great, even. It was a long time ago. I was ten. Now I’m forty-three and not good at much of anything. I’m not complaining. You’re only forty-three and not good at anything for a short time. But you will have once been ten and good at something forever.' The wisdom of this sentiment is stirring and irrefutable, and it testifies to the high level of feeling and craft Boyko achieves throughout the story."
— 2007 Journey Prize Jury (Caroline Adderson, David Bezmozgis, and Dionne Brand)