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Literary fiction

  • Author:
    Stuart, Douglas
    Summary:

    From the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain , Young Mungo is both a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the deeply moving story of the dangerous first love of two young men. Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in a hyper-masculine world. They are caught between two of Glasgow's housing estates where young working-class men divide themselves along sectarian lines, and fight territorial battles for the sake of reputation. They should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the dovecote that James has built for his prize racing pigeons. As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. When Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, with two strange men behind whose drunken banter lie murky pasts, he needs to summon all his inner strength and courage to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future. Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism, Douglas Stuart's Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the meaning of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

  • Author:
    Welch, James
    Summary:

    A contemporary classic from a major writer of the Native American renaissance — "Brilliant, brutal and, in my opinion, Welch's best work." —Tommy Orange, The Washington Post During his life, James Welch came to be regarded as a master of American prose, and his first novel, Winter in the Blood , is one of his most enduring works. The narrator of this beautiful, often disquieting novel is a young Native American man living on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana. Sensitive and self-destructive, he searches for something that will bind him to the lands of his ancestors but is haunted by personal tragedy, the dissolution of his once proud heritage, and Montana's vast emptiness. Winter in the Blood is an evocative and unforgettable work of literature that will continue to move and inspire anyone who encounters it. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

  • Author:
    Miller, John
    Summary:

    Paulette and Danni grew up miles apart — Paulette in Hamilton and Danni in North Toronto — but they might as well have been worlds apart. Paulette's family emigrated from Jamaica. Danni grew up Jewish in an affluent neighbourhood of Toronto. Now both women find themselves on the streets of Toronto, working in the sex trade. Paulette is a seasoned prostitute, working to support herself and her addiction. She acts as an unlikely and reluctant mentor and friend to Danni, who is new to the street and whose addiction has set her on a similar path to Paulette. Their paths intersect again and again over the course of a difficult and troubled friendship that sees Paulette begin to pull herself together while Danni manages to survive everything that comes her way. Will her luck run out? Has Paulette learned to make her own luck?

  • Author:
    Lott, Tim.
    Summary:

    Winner of the 1999 Whitbread First Novel Award 'Beautiful and brilliant' Tony Parsons Estate agent Frankie Blue is known on his home turf - White City, Shepherd's Bush - as 'Frank the Fib'. He's a liar - but one who always tries to tell the truth. Frankie has been friends with Diamond Tony, a hairdresser, Colin, a computer nerd, and Nodge, a cabbie, since schooldays. Now they are thirty and trying to live the same life as they did then - drinking, girls, banter, football. Then comes Frankie's Great Betrayal - Veronica, and marriage, his ticket to a bigger, better grown-up world. From the moment he tells his mates, the whole patchwork of their friendships begins to collapse - revealing the sad, shocking but often hilarious truths that lie underneath.

  • Author:
    Martin, Charles
    Summary:

    A man with a painful past. A child with a doubtful future. And a shared journey toward healing for both their hearts. It begins on the shaded town square in a sleepy Southern town. A spirited seven-year-old has a brisk business at her lemonade stand. But the little girl’s pretty yellow dress can’t quite hide the ugly scar on her chest. Her latest customer, a bearded stranger, drains his cup and heads to his car, his mind on a boat he's restoring at a nearby lake. The stranger understands more about the scar than he wants to admit. And the beat-up bread truck careening around the corner with its radio blaring is about to change the trajectory of both their lives. Before it's over, they'll both know there are painful reasons why crickets cry...and that miracles lurk around unexpected corners.

  • Author:
    Parker, Fawn
    Summary:

    2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist - For readers of My Dark Vanessa, a mesmerizing, disturbing, and thoroughly compelling novel about one woman's role in preserving—or destroying—her famous father's legacy. In front of me are hundreds of pages of work. Already I feel it leaving me. He will obliterate what is there, replace it, deny I ever wrote a word. But, he cannot take the words I write on my own. Hillary Greene's father, once a celebrated author and public figure, is now losing his memory and, with it, his ability to write. As her father's primary caretaker, each day begins with two eggs, boiled and Charlie Rose or some other host on the iPad screen. Her father compulsively watches himself in old interviews, memorizing his own speech, trying to hang on to who he was. An aspiring author herself, Hillary impulsively agrees to ghost-write his final work—a memoir spanning his career—and release it in his name. Diving deep into her father's past, and in turn her own, a horrifying truth begins to piece itself together. With full control over her father's memoir, Hillary is faced with a stark choice: reveal her father as a monster or preserve his legacy as a respected literary figure. But she wonders what writing the truth will do to her and if it will damage her own prospects for a career. Whichever option she chooses, Hillary has to deal with the significant pain writing the memoir has re-surfaced—specifically, how the truth about her father adds to her grief over the death of her enigmatic sister, Pauline. For the first time in her life, Hillary holds the power. Set in the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, What We Both Know is a visceral, intimate, and complex novel about confronting the personal and professional consequences—and potentially devastating fallout—of revealing the truth about a famous man.

  • Author:
    El Akkad, Omar
    Summary:

    From the widely acclaimed, best-selling author of American War : a new novel—beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving—that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child. "It is one thing to put a human face on a migrant crisis and another to do so in so compelling a way that a reader simply cannot put your book down." —Gish Jen, author of The Resisters More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vänna. Vänna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers, though they don"t speak a common language, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy. In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir"s life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair—and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.

  • Author:
    Jones, Amy.
    Summary:

    Winner of Northern Lit Award

    Finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour

    Quill & Quire "Books of the Year 2016"

    Globe & Mail "Best Canadian Fiction of 2016"

    A woman goes over a waterfall, a video goes viral, a family goes into meltdown -- life is about to get a lot more complicated for the Parker family.

    Like all families, the Parkers of Thunder Bay have had their share of complications. But when matriarch Kate Parker miraculously survives plummeting over a waterfall in a barrel -- a feat captured on a video that goes viral -- it's Kate's family who tumbles into chaos under the spotlight. Her prodigal daughter returns to town. Her 16-year-old granddaughter gets caught up in an online relationship with a man she has never met. Her husband sifts through their marriage to search for what sent his wife over the falls. Her adopted son fears losing the only family he's ever known. Then there is Kate, who once made a life-changing choice and now fears her advancing dementia will rob her of memories from when she was most herself. Set over the course of four calamitous days, Amy Jones's big-hearted first novel follows the Parkers' misadventures as catastrophe forces them to do something they never thought possible -- act like a family.

  • Author:
    Reid, Iain
    Summary:

    Penny, an artist, has lived in the same apartment for decades, surrounded by the artifacts and keepsakes of her long life. She is resigned to the mundane rituals of old age, until things start to slip. Before her longtime partner passed away years earlier, provisions were made, unbeknownst to her, for a room in a unique long-term care residence, where Penny finds herself after one too many "incidents." Initially, surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, looking out at the beautiful woods that surround the house, all is well. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny—with a growing sense of unrest and distrust—starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and on her place in the world. Is she succumbing to the subtly destructive effects of aging, or is she an unknowing participant in something more unsettling? At once compassionate and uncanny, told in spare, hypnotic prose, Iain Reid's genre-defying third novel explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.

  • Author:
    Lama, Tsering Yangzom
    Summary:

    2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist - 2022 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize - Longlist 2022 Toronto Book Awards Longlist - For readers of Homegoing and The Boat People , a compelling and profound debut novel about a Tibetan family's journey through exile. In the wake of China's invasion of Tibet throughout the 1950s, Lhamo and her sister, Tenkyi, arrive at a refugee camp on the border of Nepal, having survived the dangerous journey across the Himalayas into exile when so many others did not. As Lhamo—haunted by the loss of her homeland and her mother, the village oracle—tries to rebuild a life amid a shattered community, hope arrives in the form of a young man named Samphel and his uncle, who brings with him the ancient statue of the Nameless Saint, a relic long rumoured to vanish and reappear in times of need.      Decades later, the sisters are separated, and Tenkyi is living with Lhamo's daughter, Dolma, in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood. While Tenkyi works as a cleaner and struggles with traumatic memories, Dolma vies for a place as a scholar of Tibetan Studies. But when Dolma comes across the Nameless Saint in a collector's vault, she must decide what she is willing to do for her community, even if it means risking her dreams.      Breathtaking in scope and powerfully intimate, We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies is a gorgeously written meditation on colonization, displacement, and the lengths we'll go to remain connected to our families and ancestral lands. Told through the lives of four people over fifty years, this beautifully lyrical debut novel provides a nuanced portrait of the world of Tibetan exiles.

  • Author:
    Hasan, Erum Shazia
    Summary:

    A propulsive debut that grapples with timely questions about what it means to be charitable, who deserves what, and who gets the power to decide It's the middle of the night in Los Angeles when Maya, a married mother of one, receives the phone call. Her colleague Marc has been accused of assaulting a local girl in Likanni, where they operate a charitable orphanage. Can she get on the next flight? When Maya arrives, protesters surround the compound. The accuser is Lele, her former protégé and the chief's daughter. There are no witnesses, no proof of any crime. What happened that night? And what will happen to the orphanage if this becomes a scandal? Caught between Marc and Lele, the charity and the villagers, her marriage and new temptations, and between worlds, Maya lives the secret contradictions of the aid worker: there to serve the most deprived, but ultimately there to govern. As Maya feels the pleasures, freedoms, and humanity of life in Likanni, she recognizes that her American life is inextricably woven into this violent reality -- and that dishonesty in one place affects the realities in another.

  • Author:
    Vryenhoek, Leslie
    Summary:

    In 1977, a young woman swipes a duffel bag of drug money and flees her bad-news boyfriend, hitching a ride with a long-haul trucker who points out satellites and enthuses about the future of space cargo. Building a life disconnected from her past, she assumes a new identity as Dawn Taylor, but thirty years later, running a roadside motel on a remote highway, Dawn will host a group of disparate individuals--all desperate to rewrite their own stories. Brody seeks escape from those intent on repeating the narrative of his childhood trauma. Cheryl, whose career as a filmmaker is being dismantled on social media, rushes to rescue her daughter from a vicious cycle. And Spencer, an ex-con with easy access to his criminal past, chases an elusive redemption after seeing a picture of Dawn on a tourism website. In We All Will Be Received, Leslie Vryenhoek offers a range of unforgettable characters--all hoping to reconstruct a truth that's been shattered by perspective--and asks whether anyone can find peace or atonement in a contemporary world where technology makes the past ever present.

  • Author:
    Baird, Irene, Hill, Colin
    Summary:

    A new critical edition of the acknowledged best Canadian novel of the 1930s. Irene Baird’s Waste Heritage is a groundbreaking work of Canadian fiction based on the dramatic and violent labour disputes that took place in British Columbia in 1938. The story follows the progress of two friends, Matt Striker, a 23-year-old from Saskatchewan, and his simple-minded companion Eddy, as they travel from Vancouver to Victoria following the occupation of the Vancouver Post Office. Like the unemployed masses that took siege of the Post Office, Matt and Eddy yearn for relief after years of economic depression. Empathetic and tragic, Waste Heritage has been praised as Canada’s Grapes of Wrath and the most important Canadian novel of the 1930s.A new critical apparatus surrounds Baird’s original text, informing the reader of the historical and literary contexts of the work, as well as providing exhaustive textual analysis.

  • Author:
    Kuitenbrouwer, Kathryn
    Summary:

    From lost siblings to the horrors of war to tales of selkie wives, Wait Softly Brother is filled with questions about memory, reality and the truths hidden in family lore. After twenty years of looping frustrations Kathryn walks out of her marriage and washes up in her childhood home determined to write her way to a new life. There she is put to work by her aging parents sorting generations of memories and mementos as biblical rains fall steadily and the house is slowly cut off from the rest of the world. Lured away from the story she is determined to write – that of her stillborn brother, Wulf – by her mother’s gift of crumbling letters, Kathryn instead begins to piece together the strange tale of an earlier ancestor, Russell Boyt, who fought as a substitute soldier in the American Civil War. As the water rises, and more truths come to the surface, the two stories begin to mingle in unexpected and beautiful ways. In this elegantly written novel Kuitenbrouwer deftly unravels the stories we are told to believe by society and shows the reader how to weave new tales of hope and possibility.

  • Vi
    Author:
    Thúy, Kim.
    Summary:

    Mon prénom, Bào Vi, illustrait l'intention de mes parents de protéger la plus petite . Si l'on traduit littéralement, je suis Précieuse minuscule microscopique . Comme dans la plupart des cas au Vietnam, je n'ai pas su être à l'image de mon nom. Souvent, les filles qui s'appellent Blanche ou Neige ont le teint très foncé, et les garçons nommés Puissance ou Fort craignent les grandes épreuves. Quant à moi, je grandissais sans cesse, dépassant de loin la moyenne et, du même élan, me projetant en dehors des normes.

  • Author:
    Stintzi, John Elizabeth
    Summary:

    Amazon Canada First Novel Award finalistA brilliant novel whose lead character returns home to their long-estranged mother who is now suffering from dementia.Alani Baum, a non-binary photographer and teacher, hasn't seen their mother since they ran away with their girlfriend when they were seventeen — almost thirty years ago. But when Alani gets a call from a doctor at the assisted living facility where their mother has been for the last five years, they learn that their mother's dementia has worsened and appears to have taken away her ability to speak. As a result, Alani suddenly find themselves running away again — only this time, they're running back to their mother.Staying at their mother's empty home, Alani attempts to tie up the loose ends of their mother's life while grappling with the painful memories that — in the face of their mother's disease — they're terrified to lose. Meanwhile, the memories inhabiting the house slowly grow animate, and the longer Alani is there, the longer they're forced to confront the fact that any closure they hope to get from this homecoming will have to be manufactured.This beautiful, tenderly written debut novel by Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers winner John Elizabeth Stintzi explores what haunts us most, bearing witness to grief over not only what is lost, but also what remains. Bespeak Audio Editions brings Canadian voices to the world with audiobook editions of some of the country's greatest works of literature, performed by Canadian actors.

  • Author:
    Friesen, Bernice
    Summary:

    Universal Disorder is about a young boy growing up on the Canadian Prairies in the 1970s and 1980s; he has developmental disorders -- is on the autism spectrum and has OCD -- and finds solace in the world of numbers. Years later, he's a failed astrophysicist living in Montreal, and he sees a number on his call display that he hasn't seen in ten years, belonging to a woman he assumed dead. On the verge of another breakdown, he searches the streets of Montreal for a lost love -- forced to face a past that he had desperately tried to forget. With magnetic prose that positively vibrates with energy, Bernice Friesen brilliantly takes us into the mind of a captivating, unforgettable character. Universal Disorder is an extraordinary novel about the human psyche and the imperfect, disordered ways that we love each other.

  • Author:
    Conrad, Joseph
    Summary:

    This is the story of a young man unwittingly caught in the political turmoil of pre-revolutionary czarist Russia. When a bomb kills a hated Russian minister of police, along with several innocent bystanders, a young student named Razumov hides the perpetrator, who questions his moral strength and integrity.

  • Author:
    Peck, Frances
    Summary:

    Wildfire season in the British Columbia Interior. Experienced firefighting pilot Rafe Mackie loses control of his airplane while doing a routine drop and plummets to his death. The investigation that follows unleashes revelations that forever change the lives of three people: Will, the pilot who watches his mentor crash; Sharon, the widow struggling to come to terms with her loss; and Nathalie, an accident investigator with shadowy connections to the incident. As a form of the truth emerges, these three are drawn into a tangle of secrets and lies, passion and grief, blame and forgiveness that forces them to confront the actions that brought one man's life crashing down. In her second novel, Frances Peck creates another explosive literary page-turner, one that probes love, loyalty, and the ways we try to conceal and redeem our lives.

  • Author:
    Saucier, Jocelyne
    Summary:

    With twenty-one kids, the Cardinal family is a force of nature. And now, after not being in the same room for decades, they're congregating to celebrate their father, a prospector who discovered the zinc mine their now-deserted hometown in northern Quebec was built around. But as the siblings tell the tales of their feral childhood, we discover that Angele, the only Cardinal with a penchant for happiness, has gone missing- although everyone has pretended not to notice for years. Why the silence? What secrets does the mine hold?

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