Books·Books of the Year

Barbara Gowdy's favourite book of 2017 was The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep by Steven Heighton

In December, Canadian authors are sharing their favourite books of the year with CBC Books.
Barbara Gowdy chose Steven Heighton's The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep as her favourite book of 2017. (Ruth Kaplan/Hamish Hamilton)

Happy holidays! CBC Books asked authors to share their favourite Canadian books of 2017. We will be publishing these recommendations throughout December.

Barbara Gowdy chose The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep by Steven Heighton.

"I have chosen Steven Heighton's superb novel, The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep. Set in Varosha, a former Cyprian resort town abandoned after the Turkish invasion of 1974 and cordoned off ever since, The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep imagines a group of homeless exiles making a secret life for themselves among the ruins and fertile overgrowth of this real ghost world. Such a timely premise so fully captured is novel enough, but there is a whole lot more here: luscious descriptions of landscape and meals; primary characters so dimensional you can't believe they don't actually exist; and —ah, fiction! — an abundance of those lovely, intimate revelations that separates merely good storytelling from the very best of it."

Barbara Gowdy is the author of eight critically acclaimed books including The White Bone, Helpless and most recently Little Sister.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?