Books·Spring Book Preview

24 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in the first half of 2018

Mark your calendars! These fine works of fiction are coming soon to a bookshelf near you.

Mark your calendars! These fine works of fiction are coming soon to a bookshelf near you.

The Boat People by Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (Nadra Ginting/McClelland & Stewart)

What it's about: As an emerging writer, Sharon Bala of St. John's was the winner of the 2017 Journey Prize. Her morally complex debut novel The Boat People was inspired by a real incident. It tells the story of a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage to reach Canada — only to face the threat of deportation and accusations of terrorism.

When you can read it: Jan. 2, 2018

Liminal by Jordan Tannahill

Jordan Tannahill is the author of Liminal. (House of Anansi/Callan Field)

What it's about: What thoughts cross one's mind when faced with not knowing if a loved one is alive or dead? Jordan Tannahill's Liminal functions as a love letter to a mother, and a meditation on love, living and dying.

When you can read it: Jan. 23, 2018

The Rule of Stephens by Timothy Taylor

Timothy Taylor is a Giller Prize-nominated author of several books. His most recent is the novel The Rule of Stephens. (Doubleday Canada/Dave Middleton)

What it's about: In the aftermath of a plane crash, a survivor must make sense of life crumbling around her in this thriller from Giller Prize-nominated author Timothy Taylor.

When you can read it:  Feb. 6, 2018

Things Are Good Now by Djamila Ibrahim

Djamila Ibrahim is the author of the short story collection Things Are Good Now. (Dana Jensen, House of Anansi)

What it's about: This debut collection of short stories looks at the migrant experience from various angles. Set in East Africa, the Middle East, Canada and the U.S., Things Are Good Now examines themes of displacement, hardship and disillusionment. 

When you can read it: Feb. 11, 2018

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu

Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer and editor living in Seattle. (L D’Alessandro, HarperCollins)

What it's about: In The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, Kim Fu offers up this emotional look at a group of young girls who find themselves stranded at a remote camp. 

When you can read it: Feb. 13, 2018

Deep River Night by Patrick Lane

Patrick Lane is an award-winning author and poet. (Penguin/Chris Hancock Donaldson)

What it's about: The 48-hour timeframe of Patrick Lane's novel Deep River Night reveals a cast of conflicted characters in a morally ambiguous community where the undercurrents of violence and complicity are never far from the surface. 

When you can read it: Feb. 13, 2018

Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn

Amber Dawn won the 2012 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for emerging LGBTQ authors. (Arsenal Pulp/

What it's about: Amber Dawn's sophomore novel, Sodom Road Exit, is a supernatural thriller that revels in themes of sexual orientation, economic disenfranchisement and family dynamics. 

When you can read it: March 1, 2018

Marry, Bang, Kill by Andrew Battershill

Marry, Bang, Kill is Andrew Battershill's second novel. ( Lane)

What it's about: Andrew Battershill's debut novel, Pillow, appeared on the longlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2016. This second effort, Marry, Bang, Kill is a crime thriller that has a man on the run after robbing the daughter of a high-ranking motorcycle gang member.

When you can read it: March 6, 2018

Hysteria by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is a Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author. (HarperCollins/Ayelet Tsabari)

What it's about: Elisabeth de Mariaffi's Hysteria is a psychological thriller about a woman named Heike, her missing son and her increasingly distant husband. 

When you can read it: March 6, 2018

Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley

Nathan Ripley is the pen name of author Naben Ruthnum. (Simon & Schuster)

What it's about: This novel by Naben Ruthnum, under his pen name of Nathan Ripley, delivers this tale of a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of a serial killer's victims, catching the attention of a murderer in the streets of Seattle.

When you can read it: March 6, 2018

The Storm by Arif Anwar 

The Storm is the debut novel of Toronto-based writer Arif Anwar. (HarperCollins/

What it's about: The Storm weaves together five interconnected stories and explores love and emotion across 50 years of Bangladeshi history.

When you can read it: March 13, 2018

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

Tom Rachman's latest novel is The Italian Teacher. (Penguin Random House)

What it's about: Tom Rachman continues to showcase his literary craft with novel The Italian Teacher, about the nature of modern art, contemporary love and lasting legacies. 

When you can read it: March 20, 2018

That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung

Carrianne Leung is a writer and educator based in Toronto. (Sarah Couture McPhail/HarperCollins)

What it's about: Carrianne Leung, author of The Wondrous Woo, returns with this look at cultural division, the challenges of adult life and the irrepressibility of youth though the eyes a young Canadian of Chinese descent living in 1970s Toronto. 

When you can read it: March 27, 2018

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Jonny Appleseed is a novel by Joshua Whitehead. (sweetmoon photography, Arsenal Pulp Press)

What it's about: Joshua Whitehead's debut novel — and follow-up to his 2017 collection of poetry full-metal indigiqueer — is about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve.

When you can read it: April 1, 2018

Tiger, Tiger by Johanna Skibsrud

Johanna Skibsrud won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2010 for novel The Sentimentalists. (Penguin Canada/

What it's about: Johanna Skibsrud, the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of The Sentimentalists returns with Tiger, Tiger, a collection of 14 short stories that examine life from a multitude of angles, from the mundane to extraordinary. 

When you can read it: April 3, 2018

Little Beast by Julie Demers, translated by Rhonda Mullins

Julie Demers is an Quebec-based writer and author. (Coach House/Toma Iczkovits)

What it's about: Originally published in French, this translated novel is a dark fairy tale set in rural Quebec in 1944. This magical tale is about a little girl with a beard, her befuddled parents and the townspeople who fear her.

When you can read it: April 5, 2018

Mary Cyr by David Adams Richards

David Adams Richards is an acclaimed Canadian writer, essayist, screenwriter and poet. (Doubleday Canada)

What it's about: Acclaimed Canadian novelist, essayist, screenwriter and poet David Adams Richard returns with Mary Cyr. It's about an heiress to a vast fortune and the powerful forces that stand in her way. 

When you can read it: April 10, 2018

Vi by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman

Kim Thúy is a Vietnamese-born Canadian author. Her debut novel, Ru, won the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award for French language fiction. (Penguin Random House/Benoit Levac)

What it's about: Kim Thúy's debut novel Ru was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012 and was the Canada Reads winner in 2015. Her latest, Vi, tells the story of a group of Vietnamese refugees as they seek to acclimatize to new lives in Canada and elsewhere. 

When you can read it: April 10, 2018

Floating City by Kerri Sakamoto

Kerri Sakamoto's debut novel, The Electrical Field won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book in 1998. (Penguin Random House/Daniel Tisch)

What it's about: A modern take on Citizen Kane, Commonwealth Prize-winning and Governor General's Literary Award-nominated author Kerri Sakamoto delivers a tale about family, ambition and the costs of turning our backs on history and home.

When you can read it: April 17, 2018

Army of the Brave and Accidental by Alex Boyd

Alex Boyd is a Canadian essayist, poet, editor and critic. (YouTube/Nightwood Editions )

What it's about: Alex Boyd's latest is a modern fable that reworks The Odyssey to tell a story about relationships, parenthood and the impact of social media on society.

When you can read it: April 28, 2018

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

Sheila Heti is the author of several books, including the novel Motherhood. (Malcolm Brown/Knopf Canada)

What it's about: With Motherhood, Sheila Heti explores the benefits and drawbacks around whether or not to have children in her latest novel. 

When you can read it: May 1, 2018

Adjacentland by Rabindranath Maharaj

Rabindranath Maharaj is an award-winning writer of several works, including The Amazing Absorbing Boy. Adjacentland is his most recent novel. (Vicky Maharaj/Wolsak & Wynn)

What it's about: Novelist and short story writer Rabindranath Maharaj — whose last novel was 2010's The Amazing Absorbing Boy — returns with Adjacentland. The dreamlike tale revolves around a former comic book writer who one day awakens in a strange institution called the Compound with no memory of his past.

When you can read it: May 8, 2018

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje is the celebrated author of works such as The English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion. (Penguin Random House)

What it's about: Michael Ondaatje, author of the acclaimed novel The English Patient, is once again writing about the Second World War. Set in London in 1945, the novel tells the tale of two young siblings who have been separated from their parents in the aftermath of the Nazi bombings.

When you can read it: May 8, 2018

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Thea Lim is a Toronto-based writer and teacher. (Elisha Lim/ Viking Canada)

What it's about: In order to ensure an expensive life-saving treatment for her boyfriend, Polly agrees to a one-way trip to the future. The plan goes awry for two lovers when Polly ends up travelling to a future where Frank cannot be found.

When you can read it: June 26, 2018


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