5 books to read if you loved Canada Reads contender Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles is a novel that revolves around a cast of flawed characters all connected to a trendy St. John's restaurant, The Hazel. Over the course of a snowy February day, they are implicated in each other's hopes, dreams and pains as they try to survive harsh economic times in the province.
It was defended by YouTuber Alayna Fender on Canada Reads 2020.
- Read an excerpt from Canada Reads finalist Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
Finished with Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club and looking for your next read? Here are five Canadian books to check out.
In a series of shifting narratives, The Break explores the aftermath of a violent crime on a community in Winnipeg's North End. The perspectives of 10 different characters — including a social worker, a homeless teenager and a Métis police officer — come together to paint a picture of a troubled but resilient community.
Like Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, The Break is a novel narrated from multiple perspectives that pivots around a tragic event and explores Canada's systemic issues like classism, racism and misogyny.
Cataract City is Crag Davidson's 2013 novel about two young men who grow up in the shadow of Niagara Falls during a time of economic turmoil. Both boys, Owen and Duncan, dream of getting out and making something of themselves. But it doesn't happen. Owen becomes a police officer in town and Duncan gets involved in local criminal activity. The two must grapple with how their lives turned out and with their changing relationship.
Both novels explore the dark underbelly of touristy cities Canadians think they know: Niagara Falls and St. John's.
Cataract City was a finalist for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Lisa Moore's novel February is based on a real-life incident: the tragic sinking of the Ocean Ranger oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland on Valentine's Day in 1982, with the loss of all 84 aboard. A powerful portrait of grief and the difficulty of moving on, it's the story of Helen O'Mara, a woman shattered by the death of her husband, Cal, who was one of the crew members.
Both February and Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club are set in St. John's and use the province's economic struggles to tell stories that are both unique to the province and relatable for the entire country.
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 fulfil the elusive promise of their adopted home.
Like Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, it explores the challenges of getting ahead in a Canadian city and the sacrifices people make in order to keep it together.
In A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, Alicia Elliott explores the systemic oppression faced by Indigenous peoples across Canada through the lens of her own experiences as a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River. Elliott examines how colonial violence, including the loss of language, seeps into the present day lives of Indigenous people, often in the form of mental illness. Elliott, who lives in Brantford, Ont., won gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2017 for the essay this book is based on.
Both books explore larger systemic issues that create inequality in Canada, including poverty, racism, sexism, addiction and more.