Category Archives: Canadian Fiction

Calvin by Martine Leavitt

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Calvin is a brilliant 17 year old who has procrastinated much too long on his final English and biology projects. Recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, he decides to undertake an epic pilgrimage across Lake Erie along with childhood friend Susie and the hallucination of a 10 foot tiger named Hobbes to convince Bill Watterson to write one more strip of Calvin & Hobbes.  Thoughtful and heartfelt. (Submitted by Meghan W).

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God in Pink by Hasan Namir

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War torn Iraq in 2003 is a brutal time and place to be queer and Muslim. Ramy is facing a forced marriage to please his family and seeks guidance from Ammar. Ammar is a sheikh who thought he knew exactly what he should be doing and what the Qur’an dictates on the subject of homosexuality when Ramy’s letter and some angels complicate his life. Unflinching violence and no easy answers greet readers willing to engage with this text from Iraqi-Canadian author Hasan Namir. A Lambda Literary Award finalist. (Submitted by Meghan W).
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Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz

Reading books set in Montreal always fill me with nostalgia, doubly so for the deep sensory memories evoked by the fact the sisters of this novel grow up over their father’s bagel shop in Mile End. Beena and Sadhana are closely linked together by tragedy as well as family bonds. In the wake of her sister’s untimely death, Beena must grapple with their past. Thoroughly engaging, and not just because of the thought of bagels. A Canada Reads 2016 pick. (Submitted by Meghan W).

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The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

The biting commentary on racial politics in The Illegal speaks to our present woes, but the engaging characters of Keita Ali, elite marathoner and refugee; Viola Hill, wheelchair bound reporter; Ivernia Beech, subversive library volunteer; and John Falconer, boy genius make the ride worthwhile. This book was the Canada Reads 2016 winner.(Submitted by Meghan W.)

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Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese is a beautiful, captivating story of a broken Ojibway man, Saul Indian Horse. He faces the atrocities he endured at residential school as well as the racism and abuse he experienced as he tried to build a life in Northern Ontario in the 1960s. The story starts as Saul has entered an alcohol treatment centre as a grown man and is forced to face his past in order to move forward.

The portrayal of the sexual, cultural and physical abuse the Canadian residential school system inflicted on Saul is hard to read but with it comes understanding. Through the heartbreaking story, starting with Saul’s early life with his family living a traditional life in the Northern Ontario bush until being captured and taken to residential school, Saul perseveres and finds hope when he is introduced to hockey and discovers his passion and exceptional talent.

This 2013 Canada Reads nominee story is an important story about courage and healing and I would highly recommend this book to anyone from teens onward. (Submitted by Michelle).

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Angel Wing Splash Pattern by Richard Van Camp

Richard Van Camp’s Angel Wing Splash Pattern is an unforgettable collection of breathtaking, beautiful, hilarious and heartbreaking short stories set in and among the Dogrib and Dene peoples in the wild and harsh remote towns of Northwest Territories. Though each story is vastly different, from a wistful apology letter to an old love, to driving as fast as possible down a notorious stretch of haunted highway, to an elderly medicine man’s final thoughts while people watching in the West Edmonton Mall, each story complements another in a skilfully woven, extremely moving portrait of a world many of us never get to see: that of the rural reservation.

Van Camp, a Dogrib writer who has lived and taught in Vancouver, chooses words carefully to reflect an overall theme of forgiveness, love, and redemption. Each story is strong and powerful enough to stand alone; there is not a weak spot in the book. This is in the running for my favorite book ever, and definitely garners many rereads. The language has a magic to it that is even more powerful when read aloud (as can be seen when searching the first story in the book, “Mermaids,” narrated by Cree actor Ben Cardinal and produced as a radio drama by the CBC). (Submitted by Mandi).

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The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

In The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter, we meet Jane Standen, an archivist for a small London museum who is haunted by her past. When she was 15 years old, she lost sight of the 5-year-old girl who she was babysitting for only a few minutes during an adventure in the forest, and the young girl was never seen again. Now, she’s researching the similar disappearance of a woman from a mental asylum 125 years ago as part of her archival work. Hunter weaves past and present in this story of loss. I’d never read anything quite like this book–it was nostalgic and grief-stricken, but hopeful and poetic. It was historical fiction, suspense, and a ghost story all wrapped up in one. A book to be slowly devoured over a cup of tea. (Submitted by Meghan).

Aislinn’s book has been selected for KPU Reads. Meet Aislinn in person at Semiahmoo Library on Thursday, March 10 at 7pm. Call 604-592-6908 to save your spot.

Join Aislinn for a writing workshop, “Creating a Real World: 10 Tips for Writing Great Fiction,” at Write Here, Read Now on Sat, April 12 at City Centre Library from 10:15-11:45am. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot.

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