Books·Fall Book Preview

20 works of Canadian fiction we're excited to read

From Linden MacIntyre to David Chariandy, here is the Canadian fiction coming this fall you should pay attention to.

Here are 20 Canadian novels and short story collections were excited to read this fall.

You can see the entire fall preview here. Want a PDF of the entire preview? Find that here.

The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre

Linden MacIntyre, former host of CBC's fifth estate, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2009 for The Bishop's Man. The Only Café is his fifth novel. (CBC/Random House Canada)

What it's about: The Only Café is the story of a father and son, Pierre and Cyril Cormier. Pierre is a high-powered lawyer in Toronto who is haunted by his past in war-torn Lebanon. Cyril is a young journalist struggling to unpack his distant father's many secrets.

Why we chose it: Linden MacIntyre's storytelling prowess has been proven time and time again with his novels The Long Stretch and The Bishop's Man, the latter of which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

When you can read it: Aug. 8, 2017

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena's follows her smash-hit thriller A Couple Next Door with another domestic drama, A Stranger in the House. (Aparita Bhandari/CBC)

What it's about: Tom returns home to find his wife Karen missing; her purse, phone and ID left in the house. He soon learns that she's been in a bad car wreck in a dangerous part of town — and the police are convinced she was up to no good.

Why we chose it: Lapena's previous thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a runaway hit becoming a bestseller in Canada and internationally. Lapena was one of CBC Books' writers to watch in 2012.

When you can read it: Aug. 15, 2017

Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran

Gurjinder Basran's debut novel, Everything Was Good-bye, won the 2011 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. (Karolina Turek)

What it's about: The death of her mother causes Simran to reflect on her past and relationships to all those closest to her. Through a series of flashbacks, the reader learns about the heartbreaking secrets carried by both Simran and her mother, who came of age in 1960s India.

Why we chose it: A tale about the tragic twists that can upend your life, and a story about immigration and growing up between cultures that is quintessentially Canadian. Basran's first novel, Everything Was Good-byewon the Ethel Wilson Fiction Award in 2011.

When you can read it: Aug. 29, 2017

Strangers with the Same Dream by Alison Pick

Alison Pick's novel Far to Go was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Strangers with the Same Dream is her third novel and seventh book. (Emma Lee/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: This timely novel takes us back to 1921 Palestine, when a band of young Jewish pioneers, many escaping violence in their homelands, set out to realize a utopian dream.

Why we chose it: Poet and novelist Alison Pick explores her go-to themes of identity, secrets and vulnerability in much of her work. Her novel Far to Go was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and her memoir Between Gods was a finalist for the B.C. National Award for Non-Fiction.

When you can read it: Aug. 29, 2017

Six Degrees of Freedom by Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler

Nicolas Dickner's debut novel, Nikolski, won Canada Reads in 2010. (François Couture/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: In this English translation of a popular book, Nicolas Dickner delivers a compelling drama about three characters with lives that intersect and intertwine. 

Why we chose it: Six Degrees of Freedom won the Governor General's Literary Award in its original French. The translation of Dickner's debut novel, Nikolski, won Canada Reads in 2010.

When you can read it: Aug. 29, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Chai by Taslim Burkowicz

Taslim Burkowicz, author of Chocolate Cherry Chai, lives in Surrey, B.C. (Fernwood Publishing)

What it's about: Maya Mubeen is desperate to escape the traditional Indian life her mother has laid out for her. She decides to embark on a whirlwind trip around the world, an adventure that comes to a screeching halt in Tokyo when Maya and her boyfriend break-up. At a loss, Maya turns to an ancient chai-making ritual, which leads her to learn about the remarkable women who came before her, stretching back four generations.

Why we chose it: A multi-generational journey that sounds to be both emotional and adventurous? We're in! 

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2017

Dr. Bethune's Children by Xue Yiwei, translated by Darryl Sterk

Xue Yiwei is the author of Dr. Bethune's Children. (Linda Leith Publishing)

What it's about: Banned in China, Dr. Bethune's Children is a novel about Montreal surgeon Norman Bethune, who participated in the Cultural Revolution.

Why we chose it: Xue Yiwei is an award-winning writer in China, who now lives in Montreal. In April, Yiwei received the Blue Metropolis Literary Diversity Prize for a First Publication for Shenzheners, which was his first novel to be translated into English.

When you can read it: Sep. 2, 2017

Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson

Demi-Gods is Eliza Robertson's debut novel. (Ellie Gillard/Penguin Canada)

What it's about: Set in the 1950s over the long, nostalgic days of summer, Demi-Gods is narrated by a striking young woman who describes a series of brief, highly charged encounters with her stepbrother. 

Why we chose it: Eliza Robertson's writing has already been recognized around the globe with awards like the Man Booker Scholarship, Curtis Brown Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her first book, the short story collection Wallflowers, was nominated for the East Anglia Book Award and the Danuta Gleed Short Story Prize.

When you can read it: Sept. 5, 2017

First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnston

Wayne Johnston is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. (Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Set in the 1930s, a young teenager returns home from school one day to find his parents gone without a trace. This sets off an epic tale of family secrets, lies and retribution. 

Why we chose it: Wayne Johnston, a Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee and author of the bestselling The Colony of Unrequited Dreams returns once more to tell a suspenseful story set in Newfoundland and Labrador.

When you can read it: Sept. 5, 2017

That's My Baby by Frances Itani

Frances Itani is a three-time winner of the CBC Literary Prizes. (Norma Takeuchi/HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: Frances Itani's That's My Baby picks up where her Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted novel Tell leaves off: a child named Hanora, adopted by a young Deseronto couple at the end of the Great War, grows up to adulthood but has no details of her birth history. As World War II approaches, Hanora is determined to find out the truth about her identity.

Why we chose it: Frances Itani, a member of the Order of Canada, won a Commonwealth Prize for Best Book for novel Deafening and was shortlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize with her bestselling novel Tell

When you can read it: Sept. 5, 2017

In the Cage by Kevin Hardcastle

Kevin Hardcastle is the author of In The Cage. (Biblioasis/Katrina Afonso)

What it's about: After a career-ending injury, a mixed martial artist attempts to escape poverty by moonlighting as muscle for a mid-level gangster he has known since childhood. 

Why we chose it: Kevin Hardcastle's debut short story collection Debris won the the Trillium Book Award in 2016 and the ReLit Award for short fiction in 2017. The emerging fiction writer is one of CBC Books' writers to pay attention to in 2017.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

Lost in September by Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter's previous novel, Annabel, was on Canada Reads in 2014. (CBC/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Lost in September is a complex and layered story of a modern day ex-soldier from Montreal who bears a striking resemblance to General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The compelling plot twists and turns as the concept of "what and who is real" is upended. 

Why we chose it: Kathleen Winter's 2011 novel Annabel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. It was also a contender for Canada Reads in 2014.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

Tarry this Night by Kristyn Dunnion

Kristyn Dunnion's book Tarry This Night is a dystopian novel in which a new civil war has broken out in the U.S. (Liz Marshall/Arsenal Pulp Press)

What it's about: This dystopian tale follows a young woman named Ruth, who lives in an underground cult led by a deluded man named Father Ernst. As she grows up, Ruth becomes increasingly terrified she will be chosen as Ernst's next wife. Meanwhile, the cult is running out of food, but leaving the bunker means facing the civil war that has broken out above ground in the U.S. 

Why we chose it: With a future-forward, complex plot weaved together by an exciting Canadian voice, the novel promises to be an exhilarating read. Kristyn Dunnion was a Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2012 for her novel The Dirt Chronicles.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2017

Deer Life by Ron Sexsmith

Deer Life is Canadian musician Ron Sexsmith's first foray into fiction. (Dundurn Press)

What it's about: Deryn Hedlight never believed in witches, until he came afoul of a particularly nasty one. Deer Life tells the story of a reluctant hero and his mother's unconditional love.

Why we chose it: Iconic Canadian musician Ron Sexsmith makes his literary debut with this grim fairy tale, which sounds like it will be a hilarious, imaginative adventure.

When you can read it: Sept. 16, 2017

Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill ​

Michael Redhill is a novelist, poet and playwright whose work has been shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. (Anna Wilcox/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Jean Mason has a doppelganger. At least, that's what people tell her. Apparently it hangs out in Toronto's Kensington Market, and Jean needs to get to the bottom of it all.

Why we chose it:  American-born Canadian poet, playwright and novelist Michael Redhill received much acclaim for his past novels, Consolation and Martin Slone, with the latter being a finalist for the 2001 Giller Prize.

When you can read it: Sept. 19, 2017

Brother by David Chariandy

Brother is David Chariandy's second novel. (Joy van Tiedemann/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Brother takes us inside the lives of Michael and Francis. They are the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, their father has disappeared and their mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home.

Why we chose it: David Chariandy's second novel, a follow-up to the well-received 2006 book Soucouyant, explores growing up as an second generation Canadian in 1990s Toronto. 

When you can read it: Sept. 20, 2017

A Reckoning by Linda Spalding

Linda Spalding's previous novel, The Purchase, won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. (Derek Shapton/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: A Reckoning opens in the spring of 1855, when a family is involved in a shameful secret that will require a tragic decision.

Why we chose it: Kansas-native Linda Spalding lives in Toronto and has crafted a reputation for rich historical literature. Her previous novel, The Purchase, won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 2012.

When you can read it: Sept. 26, 2017

Red, Yellow, Green by Alejandro Saravia, translated by María José Giménez

Alejandro Saravia is a poet and journalist from Montreal. Red, Yellow, Green is his first novel. (Biblioasis)

What it's about: In Montreal, young man named Alfredo is haunted by the horrific acts he committed at the behest of the Bolivian Army. He ends up falling in love with a Kurdish freedom-fighter, intent on making Kurdistan an independent nation.

Why we chose it: Saravia is an accomplished journalist and poet, whose poetry collections include the oft-studied Lettres de Nootka. Originally published in Spanish in 2003, Red, Yellow, Green is his first and only novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 26, 2017

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Bloodprint is Ausma Zehanat Khan's first fantasy novel. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: Crime novelist Ausma Zehanat Khan's first fantasy novel, The Bloodprint, takes place in a world where a patriarchal power known as the Talisman, wielded by a man called the One-eyed Preacher, is slowly taking over the planet. It is up to the Companions of Hira, a group of warrior women, to stop the darkness from spreading.

Why we chose it: The book sounds like a mash-up of Lord of the Rings-esque villains and heroes from Wonder Woman's Themyscira island — sign us up!

When you can read it: Oct. 3, 2017

The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson

Will Ferguson, an accomplished humour writer, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his first thriller, 419. (Alex Ferguson/Simon & Schuster Canada)

What it's about: The Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist of 419 returns with a story of a psychological experiment gone wrong.

Why we chose it Best known for his offbeat takes on Canadian history and culture, Will Ferguson's craft only seems to evolve with each successive literary outing. We're excited to see what he does with his first fiction follow-up to winning the Giller Prize.

When you can read it: Oct. 17, 2017


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