Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Fiction Preview

The one sure thing about summer is that it's going to go by way too fast, so be sure to soak up every second of its goodness. Luckily, just around the corner lies the very best thing about post-summer since autumn leaves, which is FALL BOOKS. These are the fiction titles we're most looking forward to. 

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The latest by Angie Abdou is In Case I Go (October), in which young Eli invokes the spirit, and the mistakes, of his great-great-grandfather. With In The Third Person (October), a series of uncanny and humorous short stories by Emily Anglin, what we do for a living is put under the microscope and characters learn they're more than just the jobs that define them. Philippe Arseneault’s award-winning Zora, A Cruel Tale (August), a gothic tale of the macabre and the bizarre, is translated into English by David Homel. The second book in Wayne Arthurson’s new mystery series is Dishonour in Camp 133 (September), continuing the story of German POWs at a camp in Alberta during WW2. And Giller-nominee Martha Baillie follows up the acclaimed The Search for Heinrich Schlegel with If Clara (August), a novel of broken bones, Syrian folktales, a bedridden writer, and plummets of all varieties.

Ethel Wilson Award-winning Gurjinder Basran’s second novel is Someone You Love is Gone (August), a multi-generational story of secrets and ghosts that haunt a family. Linwood Barclay, master of the thriller, has a new standalone novel, Parting Shot (November), which spins off the events of his recent Promise Falls trilogy. Award-winner Sharon Bala’s first novel is The Boat People (January), which evokes what it means to leave behind everything you have ever known to seek out a better life in a strange land, inspired by true events. Geoff Berner follows up Festival Man with The Fiddler is a Good Woman (October), which travels through a world of knockabout musicians and chancers on the trail of an inimitable artist who truly lives in the moment, for better or worse.

In The Prisoner and the Chaplain (October), Michelle Berry has written a parable about the value of stories and the cost of guilt. Bronwen Wallace Award-winner Gillian Best’s first book is The Last Wave (August), following the life of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times, and the complex relationships she has with her husband, her children, and her close friends. Carol Bruneau’s latest book is A Bird on Every Tree (September), a collection of stories about Nova Scotian identity. And The Other Mrs. Smith (October), by Bonnie Burstow, traces the life experiences of a once highly successful woman who falls prey to electroshock and subsequently struggles, partly successfully, partly in vain, to piece her life back together.

David Butler’s debut is Full Curl (September), a murder mystery about a hard-edged warden from Banff National Park, shortlisted for Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel in 2015. Blending true history with new stories, popular inaccuracies, and some almost forgotten medieval legends, A.E. Chandler’s The Scarlet Forest (October) brings a new life into the story of Robin Hood. Set in a Scarborough housing complex, Brother (September) is the long-awaited second novel from David Chariandy, whose debut, Soucouyant, was nominated for nearly every major literary prize in Canada. And Joey Comeau’s Malagash (October) is a precisely crafted, darkly humorous portrait of a family in mourning. 

Award-winning author Méira Cook’s new novel is Once More With Feeling (September), which tells the story of people in a Western prairie city, detailing the changes in their lives over the course of a year and how how time makes fools of us all. Blood Fable (October)—the new work of fiction from Oisín Curran—is a Jules Verne-esque fantastical tale filled with Back-to-the-Land ideology and North American Zen Buddhism. Rebecca Rosenblum declares Andrew Daley's second novel, Resort (November), "a taut twisty story that starts out being about a life of crime but encompasses so much more." Award-winner Peter Darbyshire’s new book is Has the World Ended Yet? (October), which begins with retired superheroes in a soulless suburbia ... and then angels start to fall from the sky. And poet Dina Del Bucchia’s fiction debut is Don’t Tell Me What To Do (September), an offbeat story collection about strange, imperfect people doing strange, imperfect things. 

Kristyn Dunnion follows her Lambda Literary Award-nominated The Dirt Chronicles with Tarry This Night (October), a dystopian novel set against a new American civil war. Daniel Griffin, author of the acclaimed short story collection Stopping for Strangers, releases Two Roads Home (September), a fast-paced literary eco-thriller about the fine line between activism and terrorism. Sarah Faber’s debut novel is All is Beauty Now (August), set against the seductive world of 1960s Rio de Janeiro. And Terri Favro’s Once Upon a Time in West Toronto (September) is a gritty tragicomic fairy tale of sexual obsession and longing, based in equal parts on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and on the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. 

Giller-winner Will Ferguson’s new novel is The Shoe on the Roof (October), a heartbreaking comedy about a psychological experiment gone wrong. Worlds collide in George Fetherling’s The Carpenter From Montreal (September) when a naïve young heiress takes a tumble for a bootlegger with a murderous temper and his business partner falls in love with Montreal, the way Americans are prone to do. Jamie Fitzpatrick (whose first novel won the Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers in Newfoundland and Labrador and who wondered where the Great Canadian Hockey Novel was a few years back...) releases The End of Music (September), which weaves together stories of a son who has left his dreams behind and the mother who, in the wake of great tragedy, stopped singing to care for her child. And no one else does short stories quite like Cynthia Flood, whose latest collection is What Can You Do? (August), which dares to leave many a character unredeemed.

The second book in Barbara Fradkin’s Amanda Doucette series is The Trickster’s Lullaby (September), about a winter camping trip that turns deadly as two missing teenagers, a twisted love triangle, and the spectre of radicalism create turmoil in the remote Laurentian wilderness. What Is To Be Done? (September) is Mavis Gallant’s only play, performed in Toronto in 1982, a comedy that opens in 1942 in the heat of the battle against fascism, and provides much insight into the author’s early work. Bill Gaston releases short story collection, A Mariner's Guide to Self-Sabotage (September), populated by characters who are the architects of their own destruction. Camilla Grudova’s The Doll’s Alphabet (October) is being called “short stories from an unholy marriage of Angela Carter, Sheila Heti, and HP Lovecraft.” Inspired by Erik Satie’s work of the same name, Sports and Pastimes (October) is the latest novel by acclaimed Montreal playwright and author Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard, translated from French by Aimee Wall. And award-winner Kevin Hardcastle’s debut novel is In the Cage (September), about a MMA cage-fighter who gets injured and slips into a life of crime. 

Robyn Harding’s The Party (June) is a provocative domestic drama with a Big Little Lies vibe about a sweet sixteen party gone terribly awry. Traversing the vast, serene wilderness in Northern Saskatchewan as part of a "pre-release canoe trip" run as a pilot project in hopes of preparing five future ex-convicts for life in the real world, no one knows quite what to expect in Rick Hillis’ A Place You’ll Never Be (September). Karen Hofmann, award-winning poet and author of the novel After Alice, returns with What Is Going to Happen Next (September), a book in which the pieces of a broken family are put back together again. The award-winning Francis Itani begins where her novel Tell leaves off in That’s My Baby (September). And acclaimed crime writer Dietrich Kalteis new book is Zero Avenue (October), set to the cranking beat and amphetamine buzz of Vancouver’s early punk scene 

Wayne Johnston's latest, First Snow, Last Light (August), is an epic family mystery featuring his ever-fascinating character Sheilagh Fielding. Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan’s new mystery is In the Shadows (October), a riveting story of murder and police corruption. The stories in Melissa Kuipers’ collection, The Whole Beautiful World (October) are set in fictional small rural towns, stories with young people who grow up against a religious backdrop, mothers who baulk against society’s imposed identities, and characters who explore their individual roles within their families as they navigate sexuality, suffering, and shame. Tale of a Boon’s Wife (October), by Somali-Canadian Fartumo Kusow, is the story of an upper-class daughter who gives up her family and social status to be with a lover from another class—with terrifying repercussions. And Oracle Bone (October), by Lydia Kwa, employs and subverts traditional tropes of Chinese mythology to tell a tale of greed, faith, and female empowerment with a wickedly modern sensibility. 

Shari Lapena follows up her bestselling international sensation The Couple Next Door with A Stranger in the House (August), about a husband who starts to wonder if he ever knew his wife at all. Shackles (November), by Madge MacBeth, is the first title in Invisible Publishing’s Throwback Books imprint, a reissue of the classic feminist tale first published in 1926. Award-winner Linden MacIntyre's latest novel is The Only Cafe (August), about a son who tries the mystery of his father's death. Hunting Piero (October), by Wendy MacIntyre, interweaves Renaissance artist Piero di Cosimo’s fifteenth-century viewpoint with the twenty-first-century reality of two young Canadian students. The Black Peacock (September), a story of a long and complicated friendship, marks the fiction debut of Governor General’s Award-winning memoirist Rachel Manley. Claire Messud’s new novel, The Burning Girl (August) is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality—crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence. And Silvia Moreno-Garcia follows up the acclaimed Certain Dark Things with The Beautiful Ones (October). 

St. John’s writer Trudy Morgan-Cole’s latest book is Most Anything You Please (September), a vibrant contemporary family saga set in a convenience store in the city’s working class Rabbitttown neighbourhood. Against a backdrop of a digital economy that rewards online platforms instead of content creators and with climate-change anxiety hanging palpably in the air, Guillaume Morissette immerses readers into a vagabond year of modern love with The Original Face (September). Anima (October), the award-winning novel by playwright Wadji Mouawad, translated by Linda Gaboriau, is a thriller and a road novel written in the North African storytelling tradition in which events unfold from an animal point of view.

Roz Nay’s first novel is Our Little Secret (June), a thriller about a missing woman and a tangled love triangle. Ron Norman’s Slouching Towards Innocence (October) is set in the quirky, combative, and darkly comic world of British Columbia politics. Award-winner Jasmina Odor, whose work has appeared in the Journey Prize Anthology, releases her first book, You Can’t Stay Here (October), stories that invite us to step into the shoes of Croatian immigrants living in Canada, and the Croatian soldiers and families who remain behind. Triptych (October) presents powerful examples of P.K. Page’s insightful and provocative fiction. And Alison Pick's new novel is Strangers With the Same Dream (August), set in 1921 Palestine, a story that shows how idealism quickly tumbles into pragmatism, and how the utopian dream is punctured by messy human entanglements.

Uncertain Weights and Measures (September), by Jocelyn Parr, takes place in the heady days of post-Revolution Russia. Acclaimed children’s author Jean E. Pendziwol’s first book for adults is The Lightkeeper’s Daughters (July), a story of shipwrecks and family secrets. Louise Penny's latest Chief Inspector Gamache Novel is Glass Houses (August). Mariam Pirbhai’s debut collection is Outside People and Other Stories (October), with voices that lay bare the cultural and familial fissures created by transnational labour and global migration. Anna Porter’s The Appraisal (October) is a thriller with literary chops, set against Budapest’s corruption and lost promise. Jessica Moore translates Sylvain Prudhomme’s The Greats (September), “A magnificent ode to music, love, and friendship.” And We All Love the Beautiful Girls (August), by Joanne Proulx, whose first novel won the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, is a story about power, financial dependence, instinct, sex, and survival in contemporary society, and if, or how, love fits in.

Book Cover You Seem Giant

Priya Ramsingh's first novel is Brown Girl in the Room (November), about a woman of colour who encounters remarkable pitfalls as she tries to climb the corporate ladder while making her life in a city whose motto is the seemingly ironic "Diversity Our Strength." From award-winning and bestselling author Michael Redhill comes Bellevue Square (September), a darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity—and then her life—when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park. Arthur Ellis Award-winner John Lawrence Reynolds’ Murder Below Zero (October) tells the story of Maxine Benson who leaves a bad marriage and a big-city policing career for a job as chief in a small town, and is forced to prove herself professionally as she works to solve a murder. Greg Rhyno’s debut, To Me You Seem Giant (September), is the story of an indie rock could-have-been trying to reconcile his ordinary present with the dreams of his past—and the fact that his best friend and former bandmate has become a bona fide rock star.

Eliza Robertson’s first novel is The Demi-Gods (September), a provocative coming-of-age novel set in British Columbia during the 1950s. Richard Rosenbaum's short story collection, Things Don't Break (August) runs the gamut from relationships to robots, videogames, the moon, giant evil chickens, and more. Julie Roorda’s first novel for adults is A Thousand Consolations (September), a surprisingly funny novel in which virtuosity, philosophy, and humour endure despite the modern blights of refugee politics and the threat of narcoterrorism. In Stuart Ross’s Pockets (October), a series of prose-poem chapters set in a largely Jewish 1960s suburb in the northern reaches of Toronto, a nameless narrator repeatedly enters the world, as if for the first time. And Robert Rotenberg’s latest thriller is Heart of the City (August), in which former Homicide Detective Ari Greene is plunged back into the life he tried to leave behind when he discovers the bludgeoned body of Toronto’s most reviled developer behind his controversial new construction site. 

A comic coming-of-age story, My True and Complete Adventures as a Wannabe Voyageur (October), by Phyllis Rudin, melds Canadian frontier history with the madcap adventures of a young man who is not ready to meet adulthood head on. Garry Ryan's award-winning, bestselling Detective Lane mystery series returns with Matanzas (October), set in Calgary and Cuba. Bolivian-Canadian Alejandro Saravia’s Red, Yellow, Green (September) is the latest title in Biblioasis’s translation series, translated by María José Giménez. And Deer Life (September), by internationally-acclaimed musician Ron Sexsmith, is a wicked fairy tale of witchcraft, bullying, revenge, and a mysterious bowler hat.

The title story of Cop House (October), by Sam Shelstad, was a runner-up for the Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in 2014. Part mystery, part elegy, This Side of Sad (September), by Karen Smythe, explores the aftermath of a man’s violent death from his wife’s point of view. Linda Spalding’s A Reckoning (September) is a companion to her award-winning The Purchase. Kara Stanley’s debut novel is Ghost Warning (September), about a young woman navigating Toronto's underbelly of urban grime, crime, and sublime. And the stories in Sanjay Talreja’s Downward This Dog (September) describes the lives of immigrants in Canada and explores the connections between their experiences.

The new play by Jordan Tannahill, “a Renaissance man who'll be amazing audiences for decades to come,” according to Now Magazine, is Declarations (January), about mortality and the fragments that constitute a life. Set in mythical Belle Coeur County in a time not too far from our own, Jack Todd’s Rose & Poe (October) gloriously re-imagines Shakespeare’s The Tempest from the point of view of Caliban and his mother. Thomas Trofimuk's latest novel is This is All A Lie (October), about Three lives, one unreliable narrator and the consequences of losing intimacy. Bestseller K.A. Tucker’s new book is Until It Fades (June) is about a woman whose determination to hide her past is thwarted by a new relationship. And Award-winner Alice Walsh’s Last Lullaby (September) is a gripping contemporary murder mystery set in rural Newfoundland.

The debut novel by award-winning poet and non-fiction writer Alison Watt is Dazzle Patterns (September), set against the Halifax Explosion of 1917. In her third book, Things Not To Do (September), the wonderful Jessica Westhead harnesses all her powers of empathy and humour to create a brilliant mosaic of familiar—sometimes, painfully familiar people—doing things they probably shouldn't. An Old Cold Grave (September) is the third book in the popular Lane Winslow mystery series by Iona Whishaw, who the Globe and Mail has called a “writer to watch.” Full of love, longing, and tenderness, Armin Wiehe’s Grandmother, Laughing (September) is a story about unconventional families and the lengths we will go to find fulfillment for ourselves and the ones we cherish. 

Glory (October), by Gillian Wigmore—author of three poetry collections and the novella, Grayling—is a northern gothic tale about resilience and belonging. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's Last Year (October), the technology exists to open doorways into the past—but not our past, not exactly. Kathleen Winter's long-awaited new novel is Lost in September (September), which images historical James Wolfe as a homeless ex-soldier battered by PTSD on the streets on modern day Montreal. Award-winning novelist Xue Yiwei’s Dr. Bethune’s Children, which is banned in China (it is available only in a Chinese language version published in Taiwan), focuses on individual lives marked by some of the traumatic events of recent decades in China that have been veiled by official secrecy. And Iranian-Canadian writer Merhri Yalfani, whose work has been published in Iran and around the world since 1966, releases The Street of Butterflies (September), short stories set in Iran that contain the complexity of the social and political context after the revolution that deposed the Shah. 

July 10, 2017
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