Get to know the Top 40: 6 Books that will change your perspective on Canada

There are 40 books on the Canada Reads longlist. Where should you begin? How should you cast your precious votes? Don't worry: we're here to help.

Each one of the books on this list will change your perspective on some aspect of the world, and all week, we'll be exploring which is which. So check back with us every day and pretty soon you'll know the Top 40 like the back of your hand.

Today: Books that will change your perspective on Canada.

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden


Joseph Boyden's 2008 follow-up to his beloved novel Three Day Road is a continuation of the story of Will Bird and his family, a subtle exploration of themes of First Nations identity and the clash between traditional and modern culture, and the loss of cultural traditions.

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden


It shocked Canadians when Boyden's newest novel didn't make it onto the Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist, but at least it's here on the Canada Reads Top 40. The Orenda reveals a devastating story from a dark chapter of history: the savage massacre of an Iroquois tribe at the hands of a Huron tribe. But these warring tribes will soon be united by a common enemy, and the political shifts that follow will ultimately shape the birth of Canada itself.

October 1970 by Louis Hamelin


Thirty years after the October FLQ Crisis, a journalist gets drawn into a decades-old conspiracy theory about the event and tries to get to the bottom of the real story. If only all Canadian history was re-imagined as a political thriller!

Galore by Michael Crummey


In Galore, Michael Crummey, one of Newfoundland's most iconic writers, recreates the history of the Rock through the eyes of several generations of a family. A unique and evocative history lesson about one of the most misunderstood corners of Canada.

Cockroach by Rawi Hage


An urgent and unsettling portrait of poverty during a cold Montreal winter, Rawi Hage's Cockroach is about a suicidal immigrant and self-described thief whose life is saved against his will. In this story, which ranges from the character's violent childhood in a war-torn country to his present-day existence on the edge of society, Hage offers a portrait of a person who is all too often invisible.

Afterlands by Steven Heighton


Inspired by the true story of the USS Polaris, a ship that attempted to sail through the Arctic on a mission to hoist the U.S. flag at the North Pole, Afterland is about a failed expedition in which 19 people of different nationalities were cast adrift on an ice floe off the coast of Ellesmere Island. A brutal portrait of survival in the North.

Do any of these books get your vote? Or are you waiting to hear about the other 35? Vote now!


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