NextReads: Fiction: O Canada!



It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she's something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.
~Emily Carr (1871-1945), Canadian artist

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

In the rural farm country of northern Ontario, seven-year-old Kate Morrison's parents are killed, forcing her 19-year-old brother, Luke, to forgo college in order to raise Kate and her baby sister Bo. Though brilliant 17-year-old Matt was also destined for college, it is Kate who eventually grows up to become a zoologist. But her days growing up in Crow Lake have marked her, and she isn't able to think of brother Matt without sadness--and pity. Dealing with themes of loss and regret as well as beautifully depicting the tension and fear of two teenagers forced overnight into adulthood, this debut novel is "irresistible" (Publishers Weekly).

No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

The MacDonald clan first arrived in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in 1779, when Calum MacDonald and his family left Scotland in search of a better future in the New World. Now, 200 years and 5 generations later, Alexander MacDonald, an Ontario dentist, is visiting his much older alcoholic brother in Toronto. Together, they recount the stories of the close-knit MacDonald clan, including that of Alexander himself, orphaned at three and raised by his grandparents, and of the original red-headed Calum. These glimpses into the MacDonald past are "without exception gripping and quite moving," says Kirkus Reviews.

The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels

Canadian novelist Anne Michaels is also a poet; this won't surprise you when you see how skillfully she evokes the inner lives of her characters, who are drawn together and then pulled apart. Though much of the novel takes place on the Nile, where Canadian engineer Avery Escher has been assigned for a project, Avery and his wife, Jean, return to Canada as their marriage falters in the face of losses both grand and personal. For more by Michaels, try her first novel, Fugitive Pieces, or a poetry collection.

Consumption by Kevin Patterson

Ten-year-old Victoria grew up in the nomadic Inuit community of Canada's Rankin Inlet, but in 1962 was sent to a sanitarium to be treated for tuberculosis. In the six years she spent there, she experienced the modern world, making her return to traditional Inuit life--which is itself in transition--very difficult. Now something of an outsider, she eventually marries a white man and raises their children in a community that is becoming ever more corroded by the changes forced upon it from outside. First published in Canada in 2006, this powerfully written first novel "delivers a searingly visceral message about love, loss, and dislocation" (Publishers Weekly).

Comments

DeepBlue said…
Mmm! This post made me realize how little I know about my country's litterature on the "enemy" side, beside the likes of Margaret Atwood, Neil Bissoondath, Leonard Cohen, Brad Fraser and Yann Martel to name a few ;)
I'm sure most english canadian are as clueless when it comes to Quebec (french) litterature.
I need to fill the gap!
Thanks
Writer said…
Yes, you do, DeepBlue. Though I barely know anything about modern French lit anyway. :)
DeepBlue said…
Yeah! And what about modern Spanish, German, Italina, Russian...
OMG! So many books, so little time!
Should quit blogging... ;)
Writer said…
DeepBlue, I tend to like writers from other countries. Aboulela (last name) from the Sudan.

Abu Jaber (last name) is American but her parents are from Jordan.

Sorokin (last name) from Russia.

Let the Right One In is from Scandanavia country - sorry, my memory isn't working.

Tove Jansson is a wonderful children's and adult's author from Finland.

Check out out titles from http://nyrb.typepad.com/ <-- lots of books in translation new and old.

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