Books·Fall Book Preview

34 works of Canadian fiction to watch for this fall

A look at some of the Canadian fiction coming out in the second half of 2019 that we can't wait to read.

Here are 34 works of Canadian fiction coming out in the second half of 2019 that we can't wait to read.

Albatross by Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis is the author of Albatross. (McClelland & Stewart)

A Swedish study suggesting that everybody can excel in at least one sport changes the life of high school student Adam Coryell. He discovers that he is a naturally gifted golf player, but as he racks up the trophies, he's forced to admit to himself that he doesn't really enjoy the sport.

Terry Fallis is the author of several comedic novels. He has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour twice — for his novels The Best Laid Plans and No RelationHis debut book The Best Laid Plans won Canada Reads 2011.

When you can read it: Aug. 13, 2019

This Little Light by Lori Lansens

Lori Lansens is the author of This Little Light. (Random House Canada)

Set in the year 2023, This Little Light takes place in a version of the U.S. that has re-criminalized abortion and birth control. Over the course of 48 hours, two best friends are on the run from police after being accused of bombing an American Virtue Ball at their posh California high school. One of the teenagers is Rory Ann Miller, whose activist mother has been arrested while her father works with the authorities.

Lori Lansens is a screenwriter and novelist from Chatham, Ont. She is also the author of three other novels, including The Girls.

When you can read it: Aug. 13, 2019

Watermark by Christy Ann Conlin

Christy Ann Conlin is the author of Watermark. (House of Anansi Press)

Watermark is a collection of gothic short stories. The characters within reckon with crises past and present, including a bride who runs from her wedding day, a young woman facing murder charges and a man living in exile.

Christy Ann Conlin lives in Nova Scotia and is the author of two acclaimed novels, Heave and The Memento

When you can read it: Aug. 13, 2019

Translated from the Gibberish by Anosh Irani

Translated from Gibberish is a short story collection by Anosh Irani. (Knopf Canada)

India ties the seven stories and "one half truth" of this collection together. Among the stories is an Indian chef who suffers a breakdown on a New York talk show, a penguin in the Mumbai zoo who reminds a woman of her lost child and an illegal immigrant who gambles over a game of cricket. The stories are inspired by Anosh Irani's personal experience of moving to Canada from India 20 years ago.

Irani is a Vancouver-based novelist and playwright. His novels and plays are all at least partially set in the streets of Mumbai, the place of his birth, and tell stories of those often marginalized by society. 

When you can read it: Aug. 20, 2019

Night of Power by Anar Ali

Anar Ali is the author of Night of Power. (Viking)

Mansoor Visram, his wife Layla and son Ashif were forced to move to Canada when Idi Amin expelled South Asians from Uganda. In 25 years, Mansoor has risen from working at a used car lot to running a dry cleaner in Calgary. He has big entrepreneurial dreams for him and Ashif, who is chasing his own ambitions at a major corporation in Toronto. Layla, who runs her own home cooking business, sees her son and husband growing distant and feels herself drifting away as well.

Anar Ali is a novelist and screenwriter who lives in Toronto. Her short story collection, Baby Khaki's Wings, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, the Trillium Book Award and the Danuta Gleed Literary Prize.

When you can read it: Aug. 20, 2019

A Better Man by Louise Penny

Louise Penny is the author of A Better Man. (Jean-François Bérubé, Raincoast Books)

Armand Gamache is reinstated as head of the homicide department in Quebec just as the province is hit with a flooding crisis. In the midst of chaos, a father begs Gamache to help find his missing daughter, a case that draws intense public scrutiny.

Louise Penny, a former CBC broadcaster and journalist, is the author of the international bestselling Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries.

When you can read it: Aug. 27, 2019

Lampedusa by Steven Price

Steven Price is the author of Lampedusa. (McClelland & Stewart)

In 1950s Sicily, the last prince of Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi, faces the end of his life. He spends his final days labouring over the manuscript of his novel, The Leopard, which he believes will be his lasting legacy.

Steven Price is an author living in Victoria. His novel By Gaslight was longlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. 

When you can read it: Aug. 27, 2019

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

The Innocents is a novel by Michael Crummey. (Doubleday Canada)

A young brother and sister live in isolation in Newfoundland, surviving alone on the bits of knowledge their parents left behind. Their loyalty to one another is the reason they are able to persist through storms and illness, but their relationship is tested as they grow older.

Michael Crummey is a poet and novelist from Newfoundland and Labrador. Two of Crummey's novels have been shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction — Sweetland in 2014 and Galore in 2009.

When you can read it: Aug. 27, 2019

Akin by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue is the author of Akin. (Harper Collins Canada, Chris Roulston)

Noah, an elderly man, is planning a trip to Nice when a social worker calls out of the blue to ask if he'll take in an 11-year-old great nephew he's never met. He agrees to bring the boy, Michael, to France and the two immediately clash. But in working together, Noah and Michael discover an old family secret hiding in France.

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-born writer who lives in London, Ont. Her novel Room was an international bestseller and was adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Brie Larson.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

The Difference by Marina Endicott

The Difference is a novel by Marina Endicott. (Knopf Canada)

The death of their father, the head of a residential school, brings half-sisters Thea and Kay together on a ship sailing the South Pacific in 1912. Thea, set to marry the ship's captain, meets a young boy in Micronesia and decides to take him in as her own. Her decision sets off an emotional chain of events for all involved.

Marina Endicott is also the author of the novels The Little Shadows, Close to Hugh and Good to a Fault.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

Worry by Jessica Westhead

Jessica Westhead is the author of Worry. (Harper Perennial, Derek Wuenschirs)

For many years, Ruth has been best friends with Stef — a loud, confident woman who is her opposite in many ways. Now a protective mother, Ruth brings her four-year-old daughter Fern to Stef's family cottage. Fern runs off with Stef's older boisterous twins, while the two women are joined for a night of drinks and heightened emotion with the neighbour, Marvin.

Jessica Westhead is the author of the novel Pulpy & Midge and the short story collections And Also Sharks and Things Not to Do

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

Five Wives by Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas is the author of Five Wives. (HarperAvenue, Bruce Thomas Barr)

In 1956, five evangelical Christian missionaries were killed when they ventured into the Ecuador rainforest to convert the Waorani, a group of Indigenous people who had no previous contact with the outside world. Five Wives fictionalizes the story of the women left to deal with the fall-out of their husbands' actions and deaths, which were widely covered by the media.

Joan Thomas is the author of three previous novels. Her novel The Opening Sky was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

When you can read it: Sept. 3, 2019

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of The Testaments. (McClelland & Stewart)

The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale and includes the "explosive testaments" of three women. Little else is known about the hotly-anticipated novel, but Margaret Atwood has teased that the book will answer readers' questions on the inner-workings of Gilead, the oppressive dystopia where Offred, the novel's original narrator, was stripped of her freedoms and forced to be a handmaid for powerful men.

Atwood is a celebrated Canadian writer who has published numerous novels, poetry, nonfiction and comics.

The Testaments is on the longlist for the 2019 Booker Prize.

When you can read it: Sept. 10, 2019

A Delhi Obsession by M.G. Vassanji

A Delhi Obsession is a novel by M.G. Vassanji. (Doubleday Canada)

Munir Khan lives in Toronto and was born in Kenya, but his family was originally from Delhi. After becoming a widower, Munir decides to travel to India for the first time and ends up meeting a charismatic, married newspaper columnist. Their differences fuel a passionate affair, but the couple is being watched by a fanatical nationalist group.

M.G. Vassanji is a two-time Giller Prize winner.

When you can read it: Sept. 10, 2019

Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha

The book cover of a side silhouette in front of a blue background and the author photo a Black woman with short curly dark hair smiling towards the camera
Rebecca Fisseha is the author of Daughters of Silence. (Goose Lane Editions, Chris Frampton)

A volcano eruption strands Dessie, a Canadian flight attendant, in Addis Ababa where she was born. She visits her grandfather Shaleqa's home where she uncovers buried truths about her recently deceased mother and learns about the ways her family was shaped by history.

Rebecca Fisseha is a writer who was born in Ethiopia and now lives in Canada. Daughters of Silence is her debut novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 10, 2019

The Ticking Heart by Andrew Kaufman

Andrew Kaufman is the author of The Ticking Heart. (Coach House Books)

Charlie finds himself transported to a strange reality called Metaphoria, where he is the sole employee at Epiphany Detective Agency. A woman named Shirley Kintsugi hires him to find her husband's lost heart, swapping a bomb for Charlie's own heart as insurance. If Charlie can't track it down in 24 hours, he'll explode.

Andrew Kaufman is a writer who lives in Toronto. He's the author of several novels, including All My Friends Are Superheroes and Small Claims.

When you can read it: Sept. 10, 2019

Chasing Painted Horses by Drew Hayden Taylor

Chasing Painted Horses is a novel by Drew Hayden Taylor. (Cormorant Books,

Chasing Painted Horses follows four young friends from a reserve called Otter Lake, located north of Toronto. One day, Ralph and Shelley's mother installs a large chalkboard at home and challenges the four friends to a weekly art contest. The quietest of them, Danielle, draws a stunning horse and wins, an inconspicuous event that will reverberate throughout their lives.

Drew Hayden Taylor is an Ojibway playwright, author and journalist from Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario.

When you can read it: Sept. 14, 2019

Arctic Smoke by Randy Nikkel Schroeder

Randy Nikkel Schroeder is the author of Arctic Smoke. (NeWest Press)

Lor Kowalski has spent his twenties strung out on a variety of hallucinogens. He's forced into reuniting with his old punk band for an Arctic festival tour, where they are dogged by rogue CSIS agents.

Randy Nikkel Schroeder is a writer and musician who lives in Calgary. Arctic Smoke is his first novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2019

The Somali Camel Boy by Nur Abdi

The Somali Camel Boy is a novel by Nur Abdi. (Mawenzi House Publishers)

The Somali Camel Boy tells the story of a boy named Ali who is raised in a Somali camel-herding family. Ali flees when his father is murdered by rival clan members, but is caught, arrested and tortured. He eventually makes it to Canada, but his past is not far behind.

Nur Abdi is an author living in Toronto. In the 1980s, when a civil war was raging in Somalia, he sought refuge in Canada. The Somali Camel Boy is his first novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2019

There Has to Be a Knife by Adnan Khan

There Has to Be a Knife is a novel by Adnan Khan. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Transatlantic Agency)

When Omar Ali is informed his ex-girlfriend Anna has died, he resolves to retrieve her suicide note from her parents. Filled with grief and unable to cope, the 27-year-old line cook spirals out of control, participating in break-ins and online terrorism.

Adnan Khan was the recipient of the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize for Emerging Writers and was a reader for the CBC Nonfiction Prize in 2017. There Has to Be a Knife is Khan's first book.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2019

Even That Wildest Hope by Seyward Goodhand

Seyward Goodhand is the author of Even That Wildest Hope. (Invisible Publishing, Matthew Sawatzky)

Even That Wildest Hope is a debut short story collection rife with otherworldly beings — anarchist urchins and wax girls among them — who long for the extreme ends of things. To be predator and prey, to be loved and rejected, these stories are about the passionate marrying of opposing ideas.

Seyward Goodhand is a writer and PhD student. Her stories have been published in publications like PRISM International and Riddle Fence.

When you can read it: Sept. 16, 2019

Crow Winter by Karen McBride

Karen McBride is the author of Crow Winter. (Justina Phippen, HarperAvenue)

Since Hazel Ellis returned home to Spirit Bear Point First Nation, an old crow has been visiting her dreams to tell her he's come to save her. As Hazel investigates what this could mean, she discovers an old magic awakening in the quarry on her late father's land. The adventure Hazel embarks on will have a lasting impact on her family and community. 

Karen McBride is an Algonquin Anishinaabe writer from the Timiskaming First Nation in the territory that is now Quebec. Crow Winter is her first novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 17, 2019

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline is the author of Empire of Wild. (CBC, Random House Canada)

Though he has been missing for nearly a year, Joan hasn't given up on finding her husband Victor, who disappeared after their first serious fight. One morning, hungover Joan finds herself in a packed preacher's tent on a Walmart parking lot. The charismatic Reverend Wolff is none other than Victor, who claims to have no memory of Joan or their life together.

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author whose novel The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General's Literary Award for Young people's literature — text and was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

When you can read it: Sept. 17, 2019

Different Beasts by J.R. McConvey

Different Beasts is a novel by J.R. McConvey. (Goose Lane Editions, Fouad Elgindy)

This debut short story collection explores the beastly side of humanity and the human side of monsters. The characters are both otherworldly and earth-bound, ranging from mutant angels and insectoid demon-gods to politicians and parents.

J.R. McConvey was longlisted for the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize.

When you can read it: Sept. 17, 2019

Island by Johanna Skibsrud

Johanna Skibsrud is the author of Island. (Hamish Hamilton)

This novel follows the fates of two women — a rebel and a diplomat — who live on a fictional island where socioeconomic tensions have reached a violent turning point. Lota, a fish factory worker, joins a man named Kurtz in his plot to charge the embassy. Rachel prepares to flee, but is taken captive and forced to reflect on her complicity in the government's corrupt regime.

Johanna Skibsrud is the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of The Sentimentalists

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady

Lynn Coady is the author of Watching You Without Me. (House of Anansi Press)

The death of her mother sends Karen home to Nova Scotia where her elder sister Kelli, born with a developmental disability, requires full-time care. Karen is quickly overwhelmed, regretting the distance she'd always put between herself and her family. She gratefully accepts help from Trevor, a support worker, who was close with her mother. Gradually, though, Trevor's true nature is revealed.

Lynn Coady is a short story writer and novelist originally from Nova Scotia. Her short story collection Hellgoing won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2013.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

Here I Am! by Pauline Holdstock

Pauline Holdstock is the author of Here I Am! (Biblioasis)

Frankie is a six-year-old boy whose mother has just died. He decides to go to France and ask a policeman to call his father. The novel is narrated partially by Frankie, as well as his father and Gran.

Pauline Holdstock is an author who lives in British Columbia. Her novel Beyond Measure was shortlisted for the Giller Prize in 2004. Here I Am! is her eighth novel.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

The Wagers by Sean Michaels

The Wagers is a novel by Sean Michaels. (Julie Artacho, Random House Canada)

The Wagers, Sean Michaels's second novel, follows a Montreal grocer named Theo Potiris who works at his family's shabby supermarket by day and bikes to open mic nights at night, never telling the same joke twice. He's been waiting 15 years for his big break, but with his girlfriend overseas with a wealthy benefactor, Theo decides to trade in his dream for the promise of something more. The gamble takes Theo to a fantastic alternate reality of Montreal filled with peacocks, luck thieves and sports-mad mathematicians.

Michaels's first novel, Us Conductors, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2019

The Lost Sister by Andrea Gunraj

Andrea Gunraj is the author of The Lost Sister. (Nimbus Publishing, Mango Studios)

Sisters Alisha and Diana are growing up at Jane and Finch in Toronto, a neighbourhood where many immigrants have come to start their lives in Canada. A terrible sadness descends when Diana, Alisha's role model and light of the family, doesn't come home. Her body is found in the woods and Alisha thinks she knows what happened. This novel is partially inspired by the experiences of a former resident of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

Andrea Gunraj is also the author of The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha.

When you can read it: Sept. 30, 2019

Bone Black by Carol Rose GoldenEagle

Bone Black is a novel by Carol Rose GoldenEagle. (Nightwood Editions)

When her twin sister Raven goes missing, Wren StrongEagle immediately reports it to the local police. Feeling dismissed and worrying the case won't be investigated properly, Wren launches into action and decides to find justice on her own.

Carol Rose GoldenEagle is a Cree and Dene author whose books include the novel Bearskin Diary and the poetry collection Hiraeth.

When you can read it: Oct. 5, 2019

The Red Chesterfield by Wayne Arthurson

Wayne Arthurson is the author of The Red Chesterfield. (University of Calgary Press, Shawna Lemay)

Bylaw officer M is annoyed to find himself involved with a murder investigation after discovering a severed foot buried in an improperly discarded red chesterfield. On top of it all, his older brother K's work with a new political party seems shady and his younger brother J's coming-of-age continues to be a struggle.

Wayne Arthurson is a writer of Cree and French Canadian descent. He is the author of five novels, including Blood Red Summer and The Traitors of Camp 133.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

Butterflies, Zebras, Moonbeams by Ceilidh Michelle

Celidh Michelle is the author of Butterflies, Zebras, Moonbeams. (Palimpsest Press)

Butterflies, Zebras, Moonbeams is a semi-autobiographical novel about B, a young Montrealer navigating the local music scene. B works diligently on her music and tries to stay afloat in an industry rife with addiction and nepotism.

Ceilidh Michelle is a musician and author from Nova Scotia. Butterflies, Zebras, Moonbeams is her debut novel.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Shilpi Somaya Gowda is the author of The Shape of Family. (Stacy Bostrom, HarperCollins Canada)

Keith and Jaya lead an idyllic life with their headstrong teenage daughter Karina and young son Prem. But a terrible tragedy creates a rift between the family members, and no one, besides Prem, seems to have any interest in repairing it.

Shilpi Somaya Gowda is a novelist, born and raised in Toronto. She has published two other novels: Secret Daughter and The Golden Son. 

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019

Blue Bear Woman by Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, translated by Susan Ouriou & Christelle Morelli

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau is the author of Blue Bear Woman. (Inanna Publications)

Victoria, a young Cree woman, journeys to her ancestral homelands to learn more about herself and her family. Guided by her totem, the Blue Bear, Victoria is met with uncles, aunties and cousins who all have stories to share.

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau is a visual artist and published author of Cree origin. Blue Bear Woman is her second novel to be translated into English.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2019