They're Back! New Books from Stellar Authors

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One of the fun things about perusing our Most Anticipated Previews (Fiction, Nonfiction, Kids and Poetry are all out now) is seeing a name pop up that gives you a little jolt of excitement because you've read the author before. That happens quite frequently, and it certainly did with the following.

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GIL ADAMSON

Adamson's genre-bending adventure The Outlander made such huge waves when it was published, and now she's back with Ridgerunner (May 2020). Fun Fact: House of Anansi will also publish a new edition of The Outlander in May.

Here's the description for Ridgerunner:

November 1917. William Moreland is in mid-flight. After nearly twenty years, the notorious thief, known as the Ridgerunner, has returned. Moving through the Rocky Mountains and across the border to Montana, the solitary drifter, impoverished in means and aged beyond his years, is also a widower and a father. And he is determined to steal enough money to secure his son’s future.

Twelve-year-old Jack Boulton, born in the woods to two outlaws, now finds himself semi-orphaned and left in the care of Sister Beatrice, a formidable nun of the Anglican Order of Saint Mara. In the town of Banff, Alberta, where tourists, new immigrants, and POWs dwell among the locals, she lays claim to the boy and keeps him in cloistered seclusion in her grand old home.

The boy longs to return to his family’s cabin, deep in the Sawback Range.

His father is coming for him.

The nun won’t let him go.

Set against the backdrop of a distant war raging in Europe and a rapidly changing landscape in the West, Gil Adamson’s follow-up to her award-winning debut The Outlander is a vivid historical novel that draws from the epic tradition and a literary Western brimming with a cast of unforgettable characters touched with humour and loss and steeped in the wild of the natural world.

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MARJORIE CELONA

Celona's debut novel, Y, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and reviewed everywhere, including O Magazine: "A meditation on loss, identity, and family, Y showcases a tenacious young writer as she schools us in compassion and ultimately cleans house." How a Woman Becomes a Lake is her long-awaited followup and it's out this month.

Here's the book description for How a Woman Becomes a Lake:

It's New Year's Day and the residents of a small fishing town are ready to start their lives anew. Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk with her dog along the lake, leaving her husband in bed with a hangover.

But she never returns. She places a call to the police saying she's found a boy in the woods, but the call is cut short by a muffled cry. Did one of Leo's sons see Vera? What are they hiding from the police? And why are they so scared of their own father?

In the months ahead, Vera's absence sets off a chain of reverberating events in Whale Bay. Her apathetic husband succumbs to grief. Leo heads south and remarries. And the cop investigating the case falls for Leo's ex-wife but finds himself slipping further away from the truth.

Told from shifting perspectives, How a Woman Becomes a Lake is about childhood, familial bonds, new beginnings, and costly mistakes. A literary novel with the pull and pace of a thriller, told in taut illuminating prose, it asks, what do you do when the people who are supposed to love you the most fail?

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DAVID BERGEN

Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen's last book was Stranger—have you read it? So good. The prolific author's latest, Here the Dark, is out this month, and it's a short story collection this time, set in various places around the world.

Here's the book description for Here the Dark:

From the streets of Danang, Vietnam, where a boy falls in with a young American missionary, to fishermen lost on the islands of Honduras, to the Canadian prairies, where an aging rancher finds himself smitten and a teenage boy’s infatuation reveals his naiveté, the short stories in Here the Dark chronicle the geographies of both place and heart. Featuring a novella about a young woman torn between faith and doubt in a cloistered Mennonite community, David Bergen’s latest deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost—and how, through grace, we can be found.

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EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL

Ann Patchett said it well: "[Mandel's] Station Eleven is so compelling, so fearlessly imagined, that I wouldn’t have put it down for anything." As recently as last month, years after its release, one of the booksellers on our Shelf Talkers panel, Christie Shaw Roome of Salt Spring Books, recommended Station Eleven ... and in the same blog post, David Worsley of Words Worth Books wrote about Mandel's followup:

"Emily St. John Mandel's The Glass Hotel lives up to the hype and then some .... It's early of course, but this is the kind of novel that will be remembered at the beginning of the next decade."

Here's the book description for The Glass Hotel:

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later, Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.

Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the wilderness of remote British Columbia, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

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ANDREE MICHAUD

Andrée Michaud's Boundary (translated by Donald Winkler) was a sleeper, a dark and brooding suspense thriller that gathered steam through the year of its release and went on to win a Governor General's Literary Award, an Arthur Ellis Award, and to be longlisted for the Giller. It's such a good read. Now, Michaud returns with Back Roads, translated by Juliette Sutcliffe.

Here's the book description for Back Roads:

In the dubious sanctuary of the forest, a writer encounters a woman whom she suspects may be her double. So begins a journey of enquiry in which nothing, not even the author’s own identity, is certain. Who is Heather Thorne? Is she just a stranger struck by amnesia, the victim of an accident or a crime? Who is the author? Is her own name not in fact Heather Thorne?

Rich with a profound sense of the wintry boreal forest, where nothing is ever entirely known , the celebrated and prize-winning Quebec noir novelist Andrée A. Michaud once again defies categorization in an ethereal mystery of fragmented memory that meditates on the very process of literary creation.

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CORDELIA STRUBE

Strube's Lemon was 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize and shortlisted for the 2010 Trillium Award, and her On the Shores of Darkness, There Is Light was shortlisted for the 2016 Toronto Book Award. She is a master of capturing teen angst and humour and one of those authors who blurs the funny/sad line incredibly well. Strube's latest is Misconduct of the Heart, out in April.

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Here's the book description for Misconduct of the Heart:

Stevie, a recovering alcoholic and kitchen manager of Chappy’s, a small chain restaurant, is frantically trying to prevent the people around her from going supernova: her PTSD-suffering veteran son, her uproariously demented parents, the polyglot eccentrics who work in her kitchen, the blind geriatric dog she inherits, and a damaged five-year-old who landed on her doorstep and might just be her granddaughter.

In the tight grip of new corporate owners, Stevie battles corporate’s “restructuring” to save her kitchen, while trying to learn to forgive herself and maybe allow some love back into her life. Stevie’s biting, hilarious take on her own and others’ foibles will make you cheer and will have you loving Misconduct of the Heart (in the immortal words of Stevie’s best line cook) “like never tomorrow.”

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DANIEL KALLA

The international bestselling author of such titles as We All Fall Down, Pandemic, Resistance, Rage Therapy, Blood Lies, Cold Plague, and Of Flesh and Blood is back with The Last High, set in Vancouver, but you'll have to wait till May to get your hands on it.

Here's the description for The Last High:

Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor, is stunned when her emergency room is flooded with teenagers from the same party, all on the verge of death. Julie knows the world of opioids inside and out, and she recognizes that there’s nothing typical about these cases. She suspects the teens took—or were given—fentanyl. But why did they succumb so quickly?

Detective Anson Chen is determined to find out. He and Julie race to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs. But the trail of suspects leads everywhere, from unscrupulous street dealers to ruthless gang leaders who hide behind legitimate business fronts and the walls of their mansions.
As Anson and Julie follow clues through the drug underworld, Julie finds herself haunted by memories of her troubled past—and the lover she lost to addiction. When other overdoses fill the ER—and the morgue—Julie realizes that something even more sinister than the ongoing fentanyl crisis is devastating the streets. And the body count is rapidly rising.

A gripping thriller, The Last High explores the perfect storm of greed, addiction, and crime behind the malignant spread of fentanyl, a deadly drug that is killing people faster than any known epidemic.

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February 26, 2020
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