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Canadian fiction

  • Author:
    Sher, Emil
    Summary:

    T-- is used to getting grief. He gets it from his mom, who blames herself for his accident years earlier. He gets it from Mr. Lam, who suspects every kid of stealing from his shop. Worst of all, he gets it from Joined at the Hip, a trio of bullies so vicious that they leave T-- terrified of even using his entire name. But T-- has his own strength too: his camera, which captures the unique way he sees the world. His pictures connect him to Ms. Karamath, the kind librarian at school; his friend Sean, whose passion for mysteries is matched only by his love for his dog; and especially Lucy, a homeless woman who shares his admiration for the photographer Diane Arbus. When Lucy is attacked by Joined at the Hip, T-- documents the assault on film. But the bullies know he has the photographs, and their anger could be deadly. What's the right thing for T-- to do? Do pictures ever tell the whole truth? And what if the truth isn't always the right answer?

  • Author:
    Körner, Miriam
    Summary:

    Jeremy lives in a small community where winters are long and stray dogs roam the streets. When peer pressure leads Jeremy into a bad prank, he is immediately struck with guilt - and that's when Jeremy's life changes forever. Trying to make amends Jeremy befriends Yellow Dog - and in the process meets a curious old man who introduces him to the adventures of dog sledding. Soon Jeremy is forming his own old-time dog team with Yellow Dog at lead - and in the process discovers more about himself - and the old man - than he ever thought possible.

  • Author:
    Bradshaw, Mel
    Summary:

    In the fertile artistic milieu of 1927 Toronto ... After winning the commission to paint a war memorial mural for Christ Church Grange Park, Nora Britton is found dead on the church floor. An accidental fall from the scaffold she was working on? So it seems, until police detective Paul Shenstone discovers that she has been the subject of parishioners’ death threats. Shenstone’s sleuthing takes him from slum to mansion, from speakeasy to laboratory to artist’s studio. The dead Nora becomes his obsession. His list of suspects keeps lengthening as he discovers in his city unexpectedly virulent religious and ethnic hatreds. His toughness, brains, and marksmanship will all be tested in his fight to do Nora justice.

  • Author:
    Butala, Sharon
    Summary:

    Acclaimed novelist and literary nonfiction writer Sharon Butala's new novel is vividly filled with sodbusters and cowboys, fallen women and proper ladies, settlers and Indians. By the end of the first chapter, Sophie Hippolyte's husband Pierre will have been gone for three days, and the suspense, as a lone horseman approached their homesteader cabin in the southwest Saskatchewan of the 1880s, is palpable.

  • Author:
    Lapointe, Annette
    Summary:

    Finalist, ReLit Award. Finalist, McNally Robinson Book of the Year (Manitoba Book Awards). Finalist, Bisexual Book Award (USA).

    Whitetail Shooting Gallery, a new novel from award-winning author and Giller Prize nominee, Annette Lapointe, is set in the outer urban, often desolate, landscape of the Saskatchewan prairie. Cousins Jennifer and Jason live close together as small kids, exploring their rural home. They live in adjacent, sometimes overlapping, households. But one act of family violence begets another, and the cousins drift apart. By adolescence, the two are estranged. Jennifer grows closer to her best friend, Donna, an evangelical minister's daughter who rebels against her family by immersing herself in a world of vectors, fractals, perfect math, and porn. Jason's world is hockey. Donna likes his street-hockey bruises. Jason's also interested in Gordon, a semi-recluse ex-teacher who lives on the periphery of town and constructs art installations from leather, tamarack, animal skulls, and other found items. Horses, bears, kissing cousins, and other human animals conspire in a series of conflicts that result in accidental gunfire and scarring--both physical and emotional--that takes many years to heal.

    Praise for Whitetail Shooting Gallery: BC Books for BC Schools Pick "Imagine Alissa York's Fauna but in rural Saskatchewan and with all the sentimentality stripped away. Imagine lots of sex, kissing cousins, a gunshot to the face, and a set of teeth that get kicked in over and over again. Imagine a family farmhouse, country roads, the kind of place you might want to move to raise your kids if you don't look too closely. The hockey player, the pastor's daughter, how he's giving blow jobs to his teammates, and she's having sex with her best friend. ... Whitetail Shooting Gallery baffled me thoughout, disturbed and troubled me, but it also intrigued me, continually surprised me, never stopped me wondering what would happen next. It's an anti-pastoral, a complicated portrayal of rural life. ... Annette Lapointe's literary reputation was established with Stolen, which was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006. And here in her second book, she's turning Can-Lit on its head, challenging not only her readers' sensibilities, but also ideas about what a novel should be. And the latter seems to be a requirement for the kind of book that I like best." (Pickle Me This) "Wintry, notably offbeat, written with an elegant precision, and at times slyly funny ... Lapointe's beautiful treatment of poète maudit subject matter never fails to impress." (The Vancouver Sun ) "In Whitetail Shooting Gallery, Lapointe gives us an animalistic view of the teen world. This is not small-town rural life as idyllic or pastoral. Lapointe's world reflects the turmoil, raging emotions and hormones brewing inside adolescents. ... the plot is almost secondary to Lapointe's vivid, powerful voice and her beautifully savage view of rural prairie life." (Winnipeg Free Press ) Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2012 Pick, 49th Shelf

  • Author:
    Buday, Grant
    Summary:

    Finalist, City of Vancouver Book Prize.

    A blackly comic new novel from Vancouver author Grant Buday, based on his eight glorious years working in a mass production bakery. Dickensian in magnitude, White Lung is a sardonic portrait of B.C.’s racial conflicts and chaotic economy.

    Praise for White Lung: "a rollicking black comedy of errors with a host of unforgettable characters" (Quill & Quire, starred review) "rarely has there been a novel as astute about life on the punch clock" (The Globe and Mail) "mordantly funny" (The National Post)

  • Author:
    Schnell, Melanie
    Summary:

    While The Sun Is Above Us takes readers deep into the extraordinary world of Sudan through the intertwined narratives of two women. In the midst of a bloody civil war, Adut is brutally captured and held as a slave for eight years. Sandra, fleeing her life in Canada, travels to South Sudan as an aid worker but soon finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a violent local conflict. When chance brings Adut and Sandra together in a brief but profound moment, their lives change forever. In captivating prose, Melanie Schnell offers imaginative insight into the lives of innocents in a land at war, rendering horrific experiences with exquisite clarity. While The Sun Is Above Us explores the immense power of the imagination, the human desire for connection, and the endurance of hope.

  • Author:
    Tremblay, Ida
    Summary:

    This story takes readers on a journey into the past when dog teams were part of the traditional way of life in Northern Saskatchewan. It follows the seasonal cycle of trapline life.

  • Author:
    Hood, David
    Summary:

    On an October night in 1899 the body of a city councilman is found under a Halifax wharf. Detective Inspector Culligan Baxter embarks on an investigation that takes him along a path of connections and corruption, linking some of the city's most prominent businessmen. With pointed observations on human behaviour and on the changing character of the city, Detective Baxter conducts a sardonic inquiry into morality, justice, and the space in between.

  • Author:
    Swan, Susan
    Summary:

    A dazzlingly imagined novel that embraces two centuries, two women, a long-lost Journal and the mystery behind the legendary Casanova’s last great love.

    It’s 1797, and an aging Casanova has returned to Venice in disguise to elude the authorities. There he meets Asked For Adams, the niece of American President John Adams, who is accompanying her father on a trade mission to the city just as Napoleon’s army invades, throwing everything into flux. Casanova convinces Asked For to abandon her future the wife of a Yankee farmer and set out with him on a dangerous adventure through post-Byzantine Greece to Istanbul, which she records in intimate detail in her Journal-until the travel diary ends abruptly and mysteriously.

    Two hundred years later the Journal comes into the possession of Luce Adams, Asked For’s 21st-century descendant, awkward, shy, and grieving her mother’s death. En route to her mother’s memorial service in Crete, accompanied by her mother’s lover, and entrusted with delivering the precious letters between her ancestor and Casanova to the Venetian library, she becomes enmeshed in unraveling their story. And as the journeys of the two women come together, Luce finds her own way of moving through the world, and Asked For discovers how vulnerable the great Casanova is-a man whose appetite for life and generous spirit ignites possibilities in every person he touches.

    What Casanova Told Me was a finalist for the 2004 Canada Caribbean Commonwealth Regional Prize and picked as one of The Globe and Mail’s top books of 2004, as well as selected as one of top ten books of the year by Canada’s Sun-Times, the Calgary Herald and Toronto’s NOW magazine. The December edition of Macleans, Canada’s national magazine, named the novel’s protagonist Asked For Adams as one of the five best fictional characters for 2004 and said she was “the utterly charming core of Susan Swan’s parallel-track historical novel, What Casanova Told Me.”

  • Author:
    Douglas, Rhonda
    Summary:

    Rhonda Douglas’s debut collection dazzles with its daring and dangerous prose. Welcome to the Circus, where every moment is a tight-rope act, precariously balancing on the edge of destruction. In these stories, a choir processes its collective grief at the loss of one of its members to cancer; a teenage boy marks himself with the poetry of John Donne; God explains the collapse of the cod fishery; Mata Hari stands trial; and two sisters try to reconcile their respective places in the family porn emporium business before everything blows up. These ten strikingly original stories explore love and escape—how we escape to love, escape through love, and escape ourselves and hold on to love. Together, the stories of Welcome to the Circus highlight the acrobatic, courageous circus acts we all learn to perform.

  • Author:
    Hynes, Joel Thomas
    Summary:

    Scrappy tough guy and three-time loser Johnny Keough seizes an unexpected "clean slate" opportunity as a sign from above and embarks on an epic hitchhiking journey across Canada to deliver his girlfriend's ashes to a fabled beach on the outskirts of Vancouver. This is the story of one man's kicking-and-screaming attempt to recuperate from a life of petty crime and shattered relationships, and somehow accept and maybe even like the new man emerging from within, the one he so desperately needs to become.

  • Author:
    Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin
    Summary:

    Thirteen-year-old Stewart Inkster is academically brilliant but "ungifted" socially. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Anderson is the undisputed "It" girl of grade nine, but her marks stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. "The Brady Bunch" it isn't. Stewart is trying to be 89.9% happy about it, but Ashley is 110% horrified. She already has to hide the truth behind her parents' divorce; "Spewart" could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, no matter their differences, they share one thing in common: they--like the rest of us--are all made of molecules. Written in alternating voices, Susin Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation.

  • Author:
    Edugyan, Esi
    Summary:

    When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known. Washington Black -- an eleven year-old field slave -- is horrified to find himself chosen to live in the quarters of one of these men. But the man is not as Washington expects him to be. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde -- naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist -- whose obsession to perfect a winged flying machine disturbs all who know him. Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea is set alight with fields of jellyfish, where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning -- and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed one fateful night, Washington is left to the mercy of his new masters. Christopher Wilde must choose between family ties and young Washington's life. What follows is a flight along the eastern coast of America, as the men attempt to elude the bounty that has been placed on Washington's head. Their journey opens them up to the extraordinary: to a dark encounter with a necropsicist, a scholar of the flesh; to a voyage aboard a vessel captained by a hunter of a different kind; to a glimpse through an unexpected portal into the Underground Railroad. This is a novel of fraught bonds and betrayal. What brings Wilde and Washington together ultimately tears them apart, leaving Washington to seek his true self in a world that denies his very existence.

  • Author:
    McDougall, Carol
    Summary:

    Set in a small northern town, under the mythical shadow of the Sleeping Giant, Wake the Stone Man follows the complicated friendship of two girls coming of age in the 1960s. Molly meets Nakina, who is Ojibwe and a survivor of the residential school system, in high school, and they form a strong friendship. As the bond between them grows, Molly, who is not native, finds herself a silent witness to the racism and abuse her friend must face each day. In this time of political awakening, Molly turns to her camera to try to make sense of the intolerance she sees in the world around her. Her photos become a way to freeze time and observe the complex human politics of her hometown. Her search for understanding uncovers some hard truths about Nakina's past and leaves Molly with a growing sense of guilt over her own silence. When personal tragedy tears them apart, Molly must travel a long hard road in search of forgiveness and friendship.

  • Vi
    Author:
    Thúy, Kim
    Summary:

    The youngest of four children and the only girl, Vi was given a name that meant 'precious, tiny one,' destined to be cosseted and protected, the family's little treasure. Daughter of an enterprising mother and a wealthy, spoiled father who never had to grow up, the Vietnam War destroys the life they've known. Vi, along with her mother and brothers, manages to escape--but her father stays behind, leaving a painful void as the rest of the family must make a new life for themselves in Canada. While her family puts down roots, life has different plans for Vi. As a young woman, she finds the world opening up to her. Taken under the wing of Hà, a worldly family friend, and her diplomat lover, Vi tests personal boundaries and crosses international ones, letting the winds of life buffet her. From Saigon to Montreal, from Suzhou to Boston to the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is witness to the immensity of the world, the intricate fabric of humanity, the complexity of love, the infinite possibilities before her. Ever the quiet observer, somehow she must find a way to finally take her place in the world.

  • Author:
    Delany, Vicki
    Summary:

    A young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. Canadian constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters investigate whether this is a drug deal gone wrong or something more sinister.

  • Author:
    McCluskey, Elaine
    Summary:

    Valery the Great is a crackling, electric collection of dark humour that follows the bizarre and beautiful lives of its protagonists. Sometimes sweet and gentle, sometimes sharply sarcastic, the unique narrative voices in this collection are always powerfully touching.

    Praise for Valery the Great: "15 Finest Book Covers in Spring Fiction This Year" selection (Something Daily blog) “By turns comic, pathetic, and tenderly tragic, Valery the Great is a charming collection.” (Quill & Quire) “Her voice is scathing, very funny, her stories twisting at the end to leave me a bit stunned. … I loved this book, a short story collections whose curation had as much thought put into it as the stories themselves, a fantastic package with a gorgeous design. In addition to considerable talent, there is furious energy at work here, McCluskey giving it her all, and as a result, reading was a pleasure.” (Pickle Me This) “McCluskey is at her finest when she uses sharp humour and skillful, economic description to communicate her fatalistic worldview.” (The Globe and Mail)

  • Author:
    Atwood, Margaret
    Summary:

    This story about the adventures of two children who live up in a tree is vintage Atwood — playful, whimsical and wry. The perfect integration of words and pictures creates a coherent and delightful whole. The enhanced epub version, in celebration of Groundwood's 35th anniversary, includes a read-aloud feature of the story narrated by the author herself. When this charming book was first published in 1978, there was a widespread idea that it was too expensive and risky to publish a children's book in Canada. And so Margaret Atwood not only wrote and illustrated the book, she hand-lettered the type! The book was created in the old-fashioned way, using only two colors that mixed together to produce a surprisingly large range of tones and textures. The delightful result reminds us that technology hasn't necessarily made things better. This facsimile edition renders intact the unique pleasures of the original.

  • Author:
    Delany, Vicki
    Summary:

    Walter Desmond is back in Trafalgar, British Columbia, officially exonerated for a crime he didn’t commit. But if Walter didn’t commit murder, someone else did. And when two women are attacked, the media gets active and tempers dangerously flare.

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