Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2017 Fiction Preview
New year, new books: so many of them! Here are some of the fiction titles that will be rocking your world during the first half of 2017.
Kelley Armstrong follows up City of the Lost with A Darkness Absolute (February) and more page-turning suspense. With her debut story collection, Bad Endings (March), Metis/Icelandic writer Carleigh Baker makes light of the dark and takes readers out of Vancouver into the wilds of BC. Anais Barbeau-Lavalette's Suzanne, translated by Rhonda Mullins, is 85 years of art and history through the eyes of a woman who fled her family—as re-imagined by her granddaughter; it was a winner of the Prix des libraires du Québec and a bestseller in French. Wilful Desire (April) is the fifth book in the successful Heart’s Ease Newfoundland romance series by bestselling author Victoria Barbour. Paul Butler’s The Widow’s Fire (June) explores the shadow side of Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion, disrupting its happy ending and throwing moral certainties off balance. Celebrated Saskatchewan writer Bryna Barclay edits an anthology of travel fiction, Wanderlust (April). And Donna Alward's Somebody Like You (February) is the first title in her brand-new romance series.
Jack Batten’s latest Crang mystery, Blood Count (April), is set amidst Toronto’s gay scene at the height of the AIDS crisis. After the well-reviewed True Believers, Michael Blair’s latest book is The Evil that Men Do (March), about the wreckage left by a Ponzi scheme on the West Island of Montreal. Originally published in French and told through alternating and overlapping memories, Virgina Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s Winter Child (May) is a powerful meditation on grief and life, translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli. In Tim Bowling’s The Heavy Bear (May), the main character—a sort of contemporary version of Joyce's Leopold Bloom who just happens to be named Tim Bowling—spends an intense late-summer day in downtown Edmonton. And Fanny Britt—best known in English Canada for her acclaimed graphic novel, Jane, the Fox and Me— has a new novel, Hunting Houses (July), translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli; it's being described as Lauren Groff meets Rachel Cusk.
In Many Waters (May), by Ami Sands Brodoff, focuses on three generations of Jews, their stories connecting with those of three orphans whose lives intersect on the island of Malta during our current, urgent refugee crisis. The third volume in Janet Brons’ award-nominated Forsyth and Hay series is Measured for Murder (April). And it’s another birder murder! Steve Burrow’s new book about Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is A Shimmer of Hummingbirds (April). Claire Cameron follows up her Man Booker-nominated The Bear with The Last Neanderthal (May), the story of two women separated by millennia, but linked by an epic journey that will transform them both. A Plea for Constant Motion (January) is a new collection of stories by Paul Carlucci, whose The Secret Life of Fission won the Danuta Gleed Award.
Award-winner David Carpenter explores the “Gold Fever” that swept the Northwest Territories in the 1930s in his latest, The Gold (May). Janie Chang follows up her acclaimed debut, Three Souls, with Dragon Springs Road (January), a novel set in early 20th-century Shanghai. Brenda Chapman’s Shallow End (March) is the latest in her Stonechild and Roleau mystery series; Chapman's first book was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award. The third volume in Kristi Charish’s “Indiana Jane” Owl series is Owl and the Electric Samurai (May), in which Owl and her friends are pulled into undercurrents of supernatural politics in Tokyo as Owl settles her feud with the International Archeology Association.
In the gripping and horrific final instalment of GMB Chomicuk’s Midnight City series, Body Orchard (April), the author takes us to the limit of his dark imagination. Jill Connell’s play, The Supine Cobbler (February), is the story of a contemporary clinical abortion as told in the style of a Western. Award-winner Karen Connelly’s latest novel is The Change Room (April), a sexy, stirring novel about a happily married mother whose life is turned upside down by a love affair. Jennifer Craig, author of the memoir Yes, Sister, No, Sister: A Leeds Nurse in the 1950s, makes her fiction debut with Gone to Pot (March), about a broke granny who starts her own grow-op.
Barrelling Forward (March), a debut story collection by Eva Crocker, was shortlisted for the 2015 RBC Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. Blood Fable (May) is the a Jules Verne-esque fantastical tale by Oisín Curran, who has been named a Writer to Watch by the CBC. Although Sky Curtis’s novel, Flush (June), is framed around an environmental plot about the theft of Canada’s fresh water, it hinges upon her character’s amusing journey through the middle portion of her life. The latest by Nick Cutter, whose The Troop Stephen King called "old-school horror at its best," is Little Heaven. And with Sticks Angelica: Folk Hero (March), Michael De Forge plays with autobiography, biography, and hagiography to look at how we build our own sense of self and how others carry on the roles we create for them in our own personal dramas.
Cory Doctorow's first adult novel in eight years is Walkaway (April), an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death. Dawn Dumont, whose hilarious and poignant novels have portrayed life in First Nations communities, makes her short-fiction debut with the collection Glass Beads (April), interconnected stories about four friends growing up against the back drop of the 1990s and 2000s. Globe and Mail writer Rupert Everett-Green's debut is In a Wide Country (April), the story of a mother and her son traveling together, but in different directions, across western Canada in the summer of 1961.
The Old World and Other Stories (April), by Cary Fagan, is a story collection inspired by a series of found photographs. Terri Favro’s genre-bending Sputnik’s Children (April) is about a comic-book creator whose iconic character, Sputnik Chick, is actually based on her own experiences in an alternate timeline. Arabic for Beginners (March), by Ariela Freedman, is a story of both domestic and political ambivalence and the complicated ways we think of home. In Carol Giangrande’s All That Solid Melts Into Air (May), the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, is connected to several points in the life of a woman hiking on the edge of the North Atlantic. And Melinda Vandenbeld Giles’ debut novel, Clara Awake (June), was inspired by her graduate research on African-Brazilian religions.
Bestseller Genevieve Graham follows up Tides of Honour with Promises to Keep (April), a love story set against the expelling of the Acadian people from Nova Scotia in 1755. Award-winning Quebec writer Daniel Grenier’s latest, The Longest Year (March), translated into English by Pablo Strauss, is an epic novel about a boy who only ages one out of every four years. Fans of Terry Griggs will rejoice in her first book in awhile, The Discovery of Honey (May), a collection of linked short stories. Connie Guzzo-McParland, whose first novel was nominated for the Concordia First Novel Award by the Quebec Writer’s Federation, follows up with The Women of Saturn (May), a novel about three women in Montreal whose lives are connected by the same Italian village past. And the latest by Christopher Gudgeon is The Encyclopedia of Lies (February).
Barbara Gowdy’s first novel in a decade is Little Sister (April), and it centres on 34-year-old Rose, whose vivid dreams during storms may be more than just dreams. The Couturier of Milan (January) is the ninth instalment of Ian Hamilton’s bestselling and award-winning Ava Lee series, and in this volume, Ava investigates the dark side of the glamorous world of fashion. Jeremy Hanson-Finger’s first novel is Death and the Intern (April), billed as “Scrubs meets The Maltese Falcon.” The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep (March) is the latest by award-winner Steven Heighton, a novel of buried secrets, the repercussions of war and finding love among the ruins. And in Mr. Singh Among the Fugitives (March), Stephen Henighan sends up multicultural aspirations of Canadian identity, pokes fun at our glitterati, and warns: Be careful who you pretend to be.
Suzanne Hillier’s Sonja & Carl (April) is a surprising and heartrending love story that exposes the dark side of professional hockey. Book Three in Michael Januska’s Border City Blues series is Prospect Avenue (April), in which West meets East as bootleggers and cops tangle with opium smugglers and corrupt officials in a new kind of gang warfare. Michael Kaan’s debut novel is The Water Beetles (March), about a wealthy family in Hong Kong whose lives are thrown into disarray when the Japanese invade in 1941. Celebrated author Andrew Kaufman (All My Friends Are Superheroes) releases Small Claims (May), in which a man takes his midlife crisis to court. And in award-winner Ausma Zehanat Khan’s latest Esa Khattak novel, Among the Ruins (February), Esa heads to Iran to retreat from his troubles and reconnect with his cultural heritage, but soon finds himself embroiled in the country’s tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the regime.
Slipping through time and memory, Mad Richard (March), by Lesley Krueger, maps the artistic temperaments of Charlotte Bronte and Richard Dadd, who was called one of the most promising artists of his generation. You Are Not Needed Now (May) is a new collection of stories from Annette Lapointe, author of the Giller-nominated novel Stolen. Award-winner Bertrand Laverdure’s Readopolis (April), translated by Oana Avasilichioaei, is a postmodern imagining of a young man who reads everything he can in order to translate reality into a literary delirium. And from Jeff Lemire, bestselling author and award-winning creator of Essex County, comes an Roughneck (April), about a brother and sister who must come together after years apart to face the disturbing history that has cursed their family.
After more than two decades since the release of her sensational, critically acclaimed collection Driving Men Mad, Blue Field (April) marks Elise Levine's much anticipated return to form. Nicole Lundrigan’s latest is The Substitute, a thriller about an innocent relationship between teacher and student that goes very, very wrong. The latest by Man Booker nominee Alison MacLeod is All the Beloved Ghosts (April), stories that confront our reality culture and interrogate our relationship with iconic figures, coming to life at the boundary between reality and fiction.
Pasha Malla’s latest is Fugue States (May), the story of two men on a Don Quixote-like quest from Canada to Kashmir, India. Elan Mastai’s debut novel is All Our Wrong Todays (February), the story of a man who lives in a utopian version of 2016 and gets involved in a time-travel mishap and ends up in the world as we know it (eep!). Suzette Mayr follows up the acclaimed Monoceros with Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall (April), described as "an unholy collision of Stoner, The Haunting of Hill House, Charlie Brown, and Alice in Wonderland." In Jean McNeil’s The Dhow House (April), a woman arrives at her aunt’s house on the Indian Ocean and is taken into the heart of a family she has never met before, but her past threatens to undo the comfort of her present when the region comes under threat from terror attacks.
Two-time Journey Prize nominee Lori McNulty publishes her debut collection, Life on Mars (March), whose stories “exhume life's numbing tragedies and exhilarating passions with ravenous appetite.” In What We Once Believed (February), Andrea MacPherson delivers a coming-of-age novel contrasting a daughter's disappointment in her mother's abandonment with the generational differences around feminist values. Acclaimed novelist Mona Mazigh sets her story against the backdrop of Tunisian revolution in Hope Has Two Daughters (January), a mother-daughter story of two women who play active roles in history. A collection of L.M. Montgomery’s “lost” stories—not in print since their initial publication in periodicals—appear in After Many Years (May), edited by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christy Woster.
GG-award-winning novelist Andrée A. Michaud’s Boundary is translated by Donald Winkler, a thriller set in Maine’s deep woods during the summer of 1967 that has already been an Arthur Ellis Award winner in its original French. Josip Novakovich, who was a finalist for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, releases the short story collection Tumbleweed (January), which explores the shallow roots of emigration. Grace O'Connell follows up her debut, Magnified World, with Be Ready for the Lightning (June), a tale about violence, sibling love, friendship, and heroism—all told through the lens of a young woman trapped in a hijacked bus. Irish-Canadian novelist Ed O’Loughlin, whose first novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2009, releases Minds of Winter (February), in which the chance meeting of two present-day travellers exposes one of the most perplexing mysteries in the history of Arctic exploration. And Heather O’Neill’s latest, The Lonely Hearts Hotel (February) is a a dazzling circus of a novel set in the seductive underside of Montreal and New York between the wars.
Shekhar Paleja’s debut is An Extraordinary Destiny (October), which threads through three generations of an Indian family. Award-winner Ross Pennie’s latest Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery is Beneath the Wake (May). Robert Pepper-Smith's trilogy of novels chronicling the lives of those with deep roots in the orchard lands of British Columbia comes full circle with The Orchard Keepers (May). Steven Peters’ debut is 59 Glass Bridges (April), which plays with the imagery and landscapes of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. David Poulsen’s new Cullen and Cobb mystery is Dead Air (May). And award-winner Craig Francis Power’s Skeet Love (May), an uber-cool drug and sex-fuelled critique of the world we think we know.
Cecily Ross imagines the life of the celebrated pioneer woman in The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie (April). Emily Schultz follows up The Blondes with something different, Men Walking on Water (March), about rum-running in the 1920s on the banks of the Detroit River. In Leslie Shimotakahara’s After The Bloom (April), a daughter’s search for her mother reveals her family’s past in a Japanese internment camp during the Second World War. Bestseller Chevy Stevens is back with a new thriller, Never Let You Go (March), about a woman with reason to be uneasy when her abusive (but apparently reformed) ex-husband gets out of prison. And Roberta Rich’s historical fiction trilogy concludes with A Trial in Venice (March), continuing the story that began with The Midwife of Venice.
Emma Richler returns with Be My Wolff (February), a powerful story about a sister and her adopted brother who cartwheels through history. The much-awaited new title by Eden Robinson is Son of a Trickster (February), a coming-of-age book rich with humour and heartbreak. Award-winning short story writer Rebecca Rosenblum’s debut novel is So Much Love (March), described as “Olive Kitteridge meets Room and The Lovely Bones,” a story about the unexpected reverberations the abduction of a young woman has on a small community. And Shot Blue (February) is the debut by Jesse Ruddock, a novel about first love, first loss ... and second love.
In Mark Sampson’s The Slip (May), a professor’s misspoke words go viral and things fall apart in hilarious fashion. Bestseller Eva Stachniak’s The Chosen Maiden (January) is the story of a ballerina forever in the shadow of the legendary Nijinsky—her older bother and Russia’s most famous dancer. Celebrated actor and writer Kate Story’s latest is This Insubstantial Pageant (February). Boundless (June) collects award-winner Jillian Tamaki’s short stories of the past few years, including those produced for Hazlitt and her award-winning comic, SexCoven. Auralee Wallace’s latest Otter Lake Mystery is Snowed in With Murder (February), in which Erica Bloom finds herself snowbound with a killer.
Terry Watada’s The Three Pleasures (June) takes place in Vancouver’s Japanese community after the Pearl Harbour bombing in 1941. Journey Prize finalist Martin West’s debut novel is Long Ride Yellow (May), a story of a dominatrix that explores the limits of desire. The second instalment in Iona Whishaw’s Lane Winslow mystery series is Death in a Darkening Mist (April), set against the backdrop of Cold War intrigue. In The Dark and Other Love Stories (Feburary), Deborah Willis writes of characters who exist on the edge of danger. And Daniel Zomparelli’s fiction debut is Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person (April), a deadpan, tragicomic exploration of love, desire, and dysfunction in the twenty-first century.
NB from 49thShelf.com Headquarters: Editor Kerry Clare neglected to include her own debut novel, Mitzi Bytes, about a successful blogger whose secrets are about to be revealed by a mysterious reader, Jane Q. The book is being called "a grown-up Harriet the Spy for the digital age." The book will be released in March 2017, and we can't wait. Take that Kerry Clare!