Books by your favourite writers, exciting debuts, and titles that are going to make your want-to-read list grow and grow. Fall 2016 is shaping up fantastically in terms of fiction. Here are books you're going to be loving.
Cathy Ace's new Cait Morgan mystery is The Corpse With the Ruby Lips (October), in which Cait investigates a chilling cold case in Budapest. Giller-winner André Alexis follows up Fifteen Dogs with The Hidden Keys (September), based on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Gail Anderson-Dargatz's new novel, The Spawning Ground (September), is an intimate family saga rooted in the Thompson-Shuswap region of British Columbia. And Wayne Arthurson (who was part of our crime fiction virtual round table in May) launches a new mystery series with The Traitors of Camp 133 (September), set in a German POW camp in Alberta during WW2.
The third volume in Linwood Barclay's Pleasant Falls trilogy is The Twenty-Three (November), about a mysterious epidemic and a plot to poison the town. With Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight (October), Don Bassingthwaite's flamboyantly funny, supernaturally saucy Derby Cavendish stories are brought together in one fabulous collection. Jack Batten's latest Crang Mystery is Riviera Blues (October). In Into the Sun (September), by Deni Ellis Béchard, a journalist follows a trail across the world to discover who’s responsible for a fatal bombing in Kabul ten years after 9/11. And Giller-nominee David Bergen's new book is Stranger (September), about a mother's struggle to reclaim her stolen child.
Award-winning French Canadian Raymond Bock's novel Baloney (October) appears in English, translated by Pablo Strauss; it's described as "a Tristram Shandy–esque novella about failing memory and failed writing." Issa J. Boullata's first book was shortlisted for the Quebec Writers' Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction; his latest is the novel True Arab Love (September), a collection of short stories about displacement. Both a coming-of-age story and an historical epic, Métis Beach (October), by Claudine Bourbonnais, translated by Jacob Homel, is a chronicle of the great American Sixties. And Alan Bradley is back with a Flavia De Luce Christmas mystery in Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mewed (September).
New Albion (August), by actor/writer Dwayne Brenna, follows the lives of employees at a London theatre in 1850. Bestselling memoirist Jowita Bydlowska makes her fiction debut with Guy (October), a “darkly funny and utterly offensive ... character study of the misogynist bro next door.” Simon Choa-Johnson's The House of Wives (May) is a tale of friendship, fortune, and rivalry in colonial Hong Kong. Lauralynn Chow's debut is the story collection Paper Teeth (September), which follows the lives of a Chinese-Canadian family in Edmonton, Alberta, from the 1960s to the present. And Mary Frances Coady's latest novel is Holy Rule (September), which focuses on a group of nuns during three weeks in October of 1958 as the pope is dying in Rome.
Devon Code, whose first story collection was shortlisted for the ReLit Award and who won the Journey Prize in 2010, releases Involuntary Bliss (October), set in modern-day Montreal during a weekend when two young men come together in an attempt to restore their friendship. Nick Comilla’s debut, Candyass (September), is the coming-of-age story of a young gay man in Montreal at a crossroads. With Bit Rot (October), Douglas Coupland uses short fiction and essays to explore our shifting consciousness in the digital age. And Kevin A. Couture, whose work has been included in the anthology, Coming Attractions, releases his debut short story collection, Lost Animal Club.
Lesley Crewe’s latest novel is Mary, Mary (October), a novel about a woman whose goodness makes her the black sheep of her dysfunctional family. Martine Dalvaux's The Last Bullet is For You (September) is translated by David Homel, a stream-of-consciousness novel comparable to Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. In Leesa Dean's Waiting for the Cyclone (October), imperfect women populate stories which read like the weather pattern their collection was named for. Glenn Deir's first novel is The Money Shot (October), offering an unfiltered vision of broadcast journalism and which is reminiscent of Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter.
The Nature of a Pirate (December) is the third book in acclaimed author, Alyx Dellamonica's high sea Stormwrack series, the Lambda Award nominated series beginning with Child of a Hidden Sea. Emma Donoghue's latest novel is The Wonder (September), set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, the story of a young girl who stops eating but remains well, pitting the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love. A Hard Old Love Amongst Scavengers (October) is the third novel by David Doucette, whose other books were both nominated for the Dartmouth Book Award, one winning in 2002. Anne Emery's latest Collins-Burke mystery is Lament for Bonnie (September); it's about a missing girl and a vein of darkness running beneath the beauty and vibrant culture of Cape Breton. And Howard Engel's latest Benny Cooperman mystery is Over the River (October).
Ann Eriksson’s fifth novel, The Performance (October), takes on the theme of inequality by contrasting the worlds of elite classical piano and urban homelessness. Kate Evans' first novel, Where Old Ghosts Meet, was a finalist for both the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award; her latest is The Inward Journey (October), about an elderly woman who, with humour and feistiness, recounts her turbulent life. MAC Farrant's The Days: Forecasts, Warning, Advice (September) is an absurdist guidebook made up of 90 unconventional very short stories, the latest from Farrant whose last book won the City of Victoria Book Butler Book Prize for 2014. In Barbara Fradkin's Fire in the Stars (September), the first in a new series, a former aid worker returns home haunted by her time in Africa and channels her pain into a murder investigation that’s all too personal. And Border Markers (September), Jenny Ferguson's debut novel, is a series of flash fictions, is described as "a slice of prairie noir."
In The Island of Books (November), by Dominique Fortier and translated by Rhonda Mullins (whose translation of Jocelyn Saucier's And the Birds Rained Down was a Canada Reads selection last spring and was nominated for a Governor General's Award) is the story of a Montreal novelist doing research at a monastery who uncovers the story of an 15th-century illiterate monk tasked with copying great manuscripts and producing the monastery's renowned library. Testament (October), by the late Vickie Genreau and translated by Aimee Wall, inverts the elegiac, “grief memoir” form and plays with the notion of a last testament, thereby beating any would-be eulogists to the punch. Don Gillmor's latest is Long Change (September), which tells the history of Alberta's oil industry through the life of one man.
Acclaimed writer Michael Helm's new book is After James (September), in which gothic horror, the detective novel, and the apocalyptic are entwined. Critic and translator Stephen Henighan's new novel is The Path of the Jaguar (October), about a Mayan woman in Guatemala whose culture and language exist in a state of in between. Clare Humphreys' debut novel is Spells of Blood and Kin (June), a dark fantasy about the magic, burden, and debts that are handed down between generations. Andrew Hunt, whose previous novel was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award, releases Desolation Flats (November) about a wealthy English motorist found dead on the salt flats just east of Salt Lake City, and the detectives who are called in to figure out what happened.
Roy Innes' latest Inspector Coswell mystery is The Extra Cadaver Murder (October), an academic mystery. Anosh Irani's first novel in six years is The Parcel (September), about a transgender sex worker in Bombay's Red Light District. Jay Hosking's debut novel is Three Years With the Rat (August), a story of a young man's missing sister set in a reality that crashes into speculative science. Graham Jackson's debut, The Jane Loop (October), tells the story of a gay teenage boy coming of age in 1960s' Toronto. Bestselling, award-winning journalist and writer Marni Jackson makes her fiction debut with Don't I Know You? (September), a book that explores our complicated relationship with fame (and ends with Taylor Swift, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Leonard Cohen in a canoe).
John Jantunen's debut novel was shortlisted for the Kobo emerging writer prize; his latest is A Desolate Splendour (October), a dystopian novel about a family fighting to preserve their humanity. The debut novel by true crime writer Phonse Jessome is Disposable Souls (September), in which a biker-turned-cop in Halifax needs to figure out who killed a charismatic TV preacher. Been in the Storm So Long (August), by award-winner Terry Jordan, is a story of one man’s journey from the East Coast of Canada to New Orleans and back, from whaler to thief, murder accomplice to father and husband, alive to dead and back (more than once). Crime writer Dietrich Kalteis takes a historic turn with his latest, House of Blazes (October), about thieving and scheming in San Francisco in the days before the earthquake and fire of 1906.
Everything Life Has to Offer (November), by Shari Kasman, is a collection of contemporary, unusual, and sharply whimsical short stories. Patricia Keeney's novel One Man Dancing (October) follows the experiences of a young Ugandan actor-dancer growing into artistic maturity during the murderous regime of dictator Idi Amin. Playwright Katherine Koller's Art Lessons (October) describes the transformative powers of art on a young girl's life. There's huge international buzz for Shari Lapeña's third novel and her suspense debut, The Couple Next Door (August). Fans of punk, dystopic science fiction, and horror will appreciate Rats Nest (October), the first book-length work by Mat Laport.
Jen Sookfong Lee's latest book is The Conjoined (September), about a woman whose life and sense of her own history is disrupted by the discovery of the bodies of two young girls in the bottom of her late mother's chest freezer. The Bootlegger's Confession (September) is Allan Levine's latest book in the Sam Klein trilogy about Winnipeg's best-known detective. The latest by Ashley Little, whose Anatomy of a Girl Gang won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, is Niagara Motel (October), the story of a boy (son of a narcoleptic touring stripper) who believes his father is Sam Malone of TV’s Cheers, and embarks on an odyssey to find him.
Beatrice MacNeil tells another story of Cape Breton in The Geranium Window (October), about a disabled boy locked away from the world as a family secret. The third novel by Ami McKay (The Birth House) is The Witches of New York (November), which follows up on a character from her previous book, The Virgin Cure, 200 years later in Gilded-Age New York. John Metcalf's first book of fiction in decades is The Museum at the End of the World (September), a collection of stories that paint a portrait of 20th century literary life with levity and satire. And acclaimed writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Certain Dark Things (October) combines elements of Latin American mythology with a strong literary voice (and don't miss her in our world-building round table from last February).
Donna Morrissey fans are looking forward to her new novel, The Fortunate Brother (September), a tale of a family reeling from the death of their son who discover a murder on their doorstep. The second book in Linda Moore’s Rosalind Mystery series is The Fundy Vault (September), another highly engaging mix of art and environmental justice. Riel Nason follows up The Town That Drowned (which won the the Commonwealth Book Prize, Canada and Europe, and the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, among other honours) with All the Things We Leave Behind (September). In Dawning of a New Garden (September), by Tara Nanayakkara, a young widow struggles to look to the future and dream of new possibilities.
The Archaeologists (September), by Hal Niedzviecki, offers a new view of the suburbs in a world that is slightly askew. The Day of the Dead (September) is a short fiction collection by celebrated poet and memoirist Catherine Owen. After the success of her Giller-nominated Paradise & Elsewhere, Kathy Page's new book is the short story collection The Two of Us (October), stories that focus on pairs: intense one-on-one relationships and encounters. And New Louise Penny Alert! Her latest Gamache mystery is A Great Reckoning (August), in which the former Chief of Homicide for the Surete du Quebec has to confront a past he has no wish to return to.
Eric Plamondon's words have been considered shining examples of a new generation of Québécois literary innovation; the first installment of his 1984 Trilogy appears now in English with Hungary-Hollywood Express (September), translated by Dimitri Nasrallah. Steven Price's second novel is By Gaslight (August), a literary suspense novel that takes place in Victorian London. Prize-winner Meredith Quartermain's new novel is U Girl (August), a coming-of-age story set in Vancouver in 1972. Two novellas and three short stories by CanLit legend Leon Rooke are gathered together in Swinging Through Dixie (September). And Lenore Rowntree's debut novel Cluck (October) is a darkly comic novel about a man emerging from the complicated shadow of his bipolar mother.
Eric Beck Rubin's debut novel is School of Velocity (August), described as a luminous novel about music and obsessive friendship. Craig Russell, whose previous novel was shortlisted for several sci-fi/fantasy prizes, two Manitoba Book Awards, and won the 2011 American Moonbeam Award gold medal for Young Adult Fantasy, releases Fragment (October), about panic that ensues when avalanching glaciers launch a massive Antarctic ice sheet into the open ocean. Sometimes the snow comes down in June in Emily Saso's first novel, The Weather Inside, about a refugee from reality who's being forced to confront a difficult past and an awkward here and now.
Jerome Stueart's Angels of Our Better Beasts (November) is a collection of stories about beasts and the beasts we sometimes become. Rea Tarvydas's first book is How to Pick Up a Maid in Statue Square (October), a collection of stories that follow the life cycle of expat experience in Hong Kong. Take Us to Your Chief, and other stories, by Drew Hayden Taylor (October), is a collection of science fiction stories told through a First Nations framework. Kate Taylor's latest novel is Serial Monogamy (August), two stories of marriage and infidelity set both in the present day and also in Dickens' England. And An Irish Country Love Story (October) is a new and heartwarming instalment in Patrick Taylor's bestselling Irish Country series.
The Clay Girl (October), by Heather Tucker, is a tour de force about a child sculpted by kindness, cruelty, the extraordinary power of imagination, and her families—the one she’s born in to and the one she creates. The Break (September), the debut novel by award-winning poet Katherena Vermette, tells the story of a Métis-Anishnaabe family dealing with the aftermath of a shocking crime in Winnipeg’s North End. Jo Walton continues her story of the Just City in her latest, Necessity (July). And The Path of Most Resistance (August), a new short story collection by Russell Wangersky, is anchored by the idea of the role of passive aggression in ordinary life.
The Keys of My Prison (September), Frances Shelley Wees' novel about identity and deception set in 1950s' Toronto, returns to print after 50 years with a new edition from Ricochet Books. Iona Whishaw launches a new mystery series with A Killer in King's Cove (September), a clever postwar mystery that will appeal to fans the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear or the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. The Best Kind of People (August), by Zoe Whittall, is getting a lot of attention, a novel about the fallout after a seemingly ordinary family man is arrested for sexual assault. Bestselling novelist Robert J. Wiersema (who is also our Shelf Talkers columnist!) releases a collection of brand new tales, Seven Crow Stories (September). And Arthur Ellis Award-winning Sam Wiebe's latest is Invisible Dead (June), the first book of a gritty, private-eye series set on the streets of Vancouver.
Elle Wild's first novel, Strange Things Done (September), a noir thriller set in the Yukon, won the Arthur Ellis Award 2015 for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel and was shortlisted internationally. Last Year (December), by award-winner Robert Charles Wilson, takes place in a near future where doorways exist that open to the past. And I Am a Truck (November), by Journey Prize-nominated Michelle Winters, is about a New Brunswick couple who are on the verge of their 20th wedding anniversary when the husband disappears and his wife must make sense of the remaining pieces of their life.
Shenzheners (September), translated by Darryl Sterk, has been hailed as a Chinese Dubliners, the first book in English by acclaimed Chinese-Canadian writer Xue Yiwei, inspired by the young city of Shenzhen, a market town north of Hong Kong that became a Special Economic Zone in 1980 as an experiment in introducing capitalism to Communist China. Journey Prize finalist Clea Young's debut is the story collection Teardown (October), stories that navigate the whitewaters of relationships. Into the Current (September), by Jared Young, is a debut novel that defies the laws of physics to hilarious and daring ends. And in Five Roses (July), Alice Zorn deftly interweaves the rich yet fragile lives of three very different people in Montreal's historic Pointe St-Charles neighbourhood.
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