The country has voted and a Top 5 list of Canada Reads 2013 contenders has emerged for each of our five regions...but put all together, 25 books is a lot of reading to keep straight! Just in case you don't get to every book on the lists (although we're sure you're doing your best, RIGHT?), for the next couple of weeks we'll be posting a cheat sheet for each of the five regions. Because you wouldn't want to mix up Monkey Beach and The Town That Drowned, or Annabel and Away, now, would you? Of course not. First up, check out the Top 5 books from British Columbia and Yukon:
Bow Grip by Ivan E. Coyote
What's it about?
When a small-town Alberta mechanic's wife leaves him for another woman, he parks himself at a rundown motel in Calgary and tries to teach himself to play the cello.
What did the critics say?
Coyote was praised by many for the grace and strength of her storytelling and her book was acclaimed for the humanity of its characters.
What else do I need to know?
Bow Grip won the 2007 ReLit Award for best novel. Ivan E. Coyote grew up in Whitehorse and lives in Vancouver, and she's contributed several great stories to CBC's DNTO.
Everything Was Good-Bye by Gurjinder Basran What's it about?
Gurjinder Basran's debut novel is a coming of age story about a young Indo-Canadian woman living in British Columbia's lower mainland as she struggles to carve out her identity amidst the traditions of her family and the freedoms of Canadian culture. What did the critics say?
Quill and Quire praised Basran for her "elegant and poetic" writing. What else do I need to know? Everything Was Good-Bye
won both the Great BC Novel Contest and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Award in 2011. You can listen to Basran speak about the book with Michael Enright on The Sunday Edition
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese What's it about?
Thrown into rehab for his alcoholism, Saul Indian Horse tries to find peace by telling his life story, from his forced attendance at a cruel residential school to his talent as a hockey player and the racial and cultural challenges he faces. What did the critics say?
Ever since it was published earlier this year, reviewers have been praising Wagamese's important Canadian narrative and masterly storytelling. What else do I need to know?
Wagamese received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award this year. He also spoke with Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter recently -- you can listen to the interview here
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson What's it about?
Robinson's first English-language novel is a story of grief and survival about a family facing a harrowing loss. Hot-tempered Lisa is the eldest sibling of a Haisla family in the Native settlement of Kitamaat on the coast of British Columbia. The novel centres around Lisa's reminiscences of her missing brother, while mixing in elements of magic realism and a strong sense of Lisa's connection to the natural world. What did the critics say?
Critics from around the world loved Monkey Beach
, calling it "transcendent" and "riveting." What else do I need to know?Monkey Beach
was nominated for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and became a national bestseller when it came out in 2000. For a taste of Robinson's writing, check out her wonderful contribution to Canada Writes from last summer
Obasan by Joy Kogawa What's it about?
Through the eyes of a five-year-old child who becomes an enemy in her own country, Joy Kogawa examines Canada's awful treatment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War. What did the critics say?
The "lyrical and moving" Obasan
was hailed as an instant classic when it was published in 1983, and is regarded as an important account of a dark chapter of Canadian history. What else do I need to know?Obasan
was standard curriculum fare in Canadian public schools for years after it came out. The book is also somewhat autobiographical. In this archival interview with Tina Srebotnjak
, Joy Kogawa talks about her own experiences in an internment camp.