"Diane Carley is a lean, strong writer—every word matters. She's the love child of Raymond Carver and Alice Munro. Sharp, sensitive, excellent stories full of emotion, like putting your hand over a racing heart. This writing is as vivid as it gets." —Lisa Moore, author of This is How We Love
We, Jane, by Aimee Wall
We, Jane beautifully conveys the nuances of a complicated friendship between two women and the ways in which a whisper network helps provide much-needed women’s health support in rural Newfoundland. The novel captures the complications of loving a flawed and stunning place with its flawed and complicated people, and how it can be a long and circuitous route to finding your way home.
Butter Honey Pig Bread, by Francesca Ekwuyasi
A story that beautifully captures the essentials of life—food, love, desire, family, friends—and our sometimes-complicated relationships with each. And how caring for others means experiencing deep pain when we are betrayed by them. But how our caring also allows us to survive that pain and can ultimately help us to forge stronger bonds. This book is fiercely queer and wonderfully rich and evocative.
Empire of Wild, by Cherie Dimaline
A story about a missing husband, a revival tent, and werewolves. We follow one woman’s journey to bring the man she loves back to himself and ultimately back to her. If it really is him. It’s a strange, beautiful, and fearless story embracing tradition, mythology, belief, resilience, and love.
Songs for the End of the World, by Saleema Nawaz
A surprisingly compelling and even hopeful tale of individuals caught in a pandemic not unlike our own. Prescient yet unique in its depiction of people in crisis, this is a big bold book into which you can sink, letting it carry you along a difficult but exciting journey with people you care about even when they behave badly.
Throw Down Your Shadows, by Deborah Hemming
Hemming perfectly captures the muddy waters of adolescence, the battles between dependency and autonomy, and between belonging and staying true to yourself, especially when you don’t quite know who you are yet. Set in rural Nova Scotia, she captures the equal parts magic and boredom of growing up in a small community. Of what it feels like to be biking along country roads at sixteen-years-old, awkward, seeking, and uncertain.
Jonny Appleseed, by Joshua Whitehead
Unflinchingly queer, and remarkably beautiful, this tale of the Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer Jonny’s return home for the funeral of his stepfather, is as unapologetic as Jonny. The novel is a rich, sharp, and compelling tale full of heart and humour. It meanders through the spaces between the past and the present, the way our memories do. And it pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. Captivating and true.
Melt, by Heidi Wicks
Melt is a funny and engaging read about best friends as they grow up, drift apart, and come together again. But it is also about Newfoundland. Wicks beautifully captures the humour and wonder of St. John’s during the 90s and in present-day while exploring the nooks and crannies of the complex friendship between these complicated and captivating women.
Nowadays and Lonelier, by Carmella Gray-Cosgrove
A book about ballet, dive masters, and coyotes, about sorrow, poverty, and privilege. The writing in these stories is taut and funny and fearless. It can lift you up and break you down, sometimes within the same piece. The stories are full of sex, grit, humour, addiction and are bursting with humanity. It’s a fantastic collection.
Tiny Ruins, by Nicole Haldoupis
Tiny Ruins succinctly captures those intense first crushes and heartbreaks. It is unabashedly queer, funny, and smart. This small book punches well above its weight. Comprised of short snapshots, it nonetheless conveys in tight, sharp prose, more emotion and heartbreak than is often evoked by books twice its size.
Crow Winter, by Karen McBride
This book is a wonderful mash-up of genres—literary, mystery, ghost story, with a touch of fantasy. It’s about individual grief and dark family secrets against the backdrop of the devastating role that Indian Affairs and other colonization tools have had, and continue to have, on Indigenous communities.
Forced intimacies, dead dogs, errant balloons, a troubled chef's encounter with ethereal Swedish lesbians, all form this remarkable short story collection, Bodies in Trouble, depicting characters coping with faltering relationships, simmering violence, and light-drenched visions. Stories of damaged daughters and abandoned sons, of near-crashes, lost loves, and late nights steeped in regret. Lurking within these tales is the glimmer of hope from a brave choice, a bold action, the recalibration of a dangerous path.
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