Annabel by Kathleen Winter

annabelThis book was hauntingly beautiful. It tells the story of a child, born in a remote Labradorean town in 1968, who is not quite male and not quite female. Winter’s storytelling is luminous and poignant as we grow up alongside Wayne (Annabel) in the cold, Canadian climate, privy to one family’s secrets. I’m still reeling from this story and it’s been years since I read it–time for a re-read! (Submitted by Meghan)

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Rattlesnake Plantain by Heidi Greco

I loved this book of poetry. Heidi’s words evoked imagery that made me laugh out loud, nod knowingly, blush furiously, and feel sadly. One of my favourite poems “Alberta Visitor” summarizes how I feel when I leave our oceanfront existence on the Westcoast to visit family in Edmonton:

houses here      so far from anything
make me want to knock on doors
ask      how did I/you
ever get here

Please read it! (Submitted by Meghan).

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Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

In Little Bird of Heaven, American author Joyce Carol Oates returns to upstate New York and the mythical town of Sparta, the setting of her previous novels We Were the Mulvaneys and The Gravedigger’s Daughter.

In this 2009 novel—a true emotional battlefield—a young mother is brutally murdered and the police focus on two suspects, her estranged husband, Delray Kruller, and her lover, Eddy Diehl, creating an escalating tension between the Krullers’ son, Aaron, and Eddy’s daughter, Krista. Both kids grow up obsessed and infatuated with each other, and it is through their voices that we get to see the life of Sparta in all its darkness and mystery.

This is a brilliant and captivating tale in which violence, betrayal, despair and sexuality get intertwined to a point where everything comes crashing down. Oates’ lyricism is at its best. (Submitted by Eva.)

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