Get to know your region's Top 5: Atlantic Provinces

The list from the Atlantic region is a mix of old and new, and as varied as the four provinces themselves. Here's a capsule guide to the books, to help you get acquainted.

Annabel by Kathleen Winter

annabel 110x180.jpg What's it about?
A hermaphrodite baby -- at once male and female -- is born in the woods of Labrador, and his parents make the difficult decision to raise him as a boy named Wayne. But as a grown man living in a hyper-masculine, conservative society, Wayne is haunted by the female presence that has always lived inside him.

What did the critics say?
Annabel received rave reviews all over the world, with critics in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. calling the book "dazzling," "powerful" and "lyrical."

What else do I need to know?
Annabel appeared on the shortlist of almost every major literary award when it was published in 2010, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Orange Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. You can hear Winter discuss her novel with Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

anne of green gables 110x180.jpg What's it about?
A red-headed orphan charms an old brother and sister who thought they were adopting a boy to help on their Prince Edward Island farm. She wonders what makes the roads red, gets her best friend accidentally drunk and cracks a slate over the head of her future husband. But it's all family friendly!

What did the critics say?
Anne was an instant hit when it was first published in 1908, and her many fans included such illustrious literary company as Mark Twain. But the book had its detractors, among them the New York Times. 

What else do I need to know?
What don't you know? The pride of Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables is one of the most famous Canadian books of all time. Montgomery followed up the first book with seven sequels (the last two of which concern Anne's children). You can watch this Life & Times segment about Montgomery's life

February by Lisa Moore

february 110x180.jpg What's it about?
February concerns Helen O'Mara, a woman shattered by the loss of her husband, Cal, in the Ocean Ranger disaster on Valentine's Day, 1982. The novel is set 25 years after this tragic event, but Moore shifts the action back and forth in time to offer snapshots of important moments in Helen's life, from meeting the love of her life, Cal, in the 1970s, to her present-day life as a grandmother of two.

What did the critics say?
They loved it. February was named one of the best books of the year by the Globe and Mail, The New Yorker and Quill and Quire when it was published.

What else do I need to know? 
February was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2010. Moore recently adapted the novel into a stage play. You can listen to Moore read an excerpt from her novel on this episode of The Current devoted to the 30th anniversary of the Ocean Ranger disaster

No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

no great mischief 110x180.jpg What's it about?
An "Alexander MacDonald" stands in for MacLeod as the narrator and guides the reader through his mythic family history on Cape Breton Island. He remains haunted by his home even as he and his twin sister have prospered away from the island.

What did the critics say?
No Great Mischief was an instant classic. MacLeod was called "the greatest living Canadian writer" by the Globe and Mail, and notices from other outlets were no less hyperbolic.

What else do I need to know?
No Great Mischief won a slew of awards, including the Trillium Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. You can listen to MacLeod discuss his writing craft here

The Town That Drowned by Riel Nason

townthatdrowned 110x180.jpg What's it about?
Told from the perspective of a 14-year-old who is just starting to come of age and is keenly aware of being an outsider, The Town That Drowned is about the construction of a dam in the 1960s that forces a small New Brunswick town to relocate its residents and infrastructure.

What did the critics say?
Nason's debut novel charmed critics and put her on the radar as a writer to watch. The Town That Drowned has been calling "captivating," "compelling" and "powerful."

What else do I need to know?
The Town That Drowned won both the regional Commonwealth Book Prize and the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award at the Atlantic Book Awards in 2012. You can listen to Nason discuss the book -- and her shock at winning -- in this interview on Fredericton's Information Morning.

Which one of these titles do you want to see on Canada Reads 2013? Let us know and you could win a Kobo Touch eReader!

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