Canada Reads 2019 Finale: Watch the replay
On the Canada Reads 2019 finale, science journalist Ziya Tong, defending Holocaust memoir By Chance Alone by Max Eisen, went head to head against rock musician Chuck Comeau, defending the memoir Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung, to determine the ultimate winner of this year's battle of the books.
On the final day of debates, Tong and Comeau were each presented with the chance to sway fellow panellists Lisa Ray, Yanic Truesdale and Joe Zee through discussions of the literary merit, themes and subject matter of the two books left in contention — and why their respective book is the one book to move all of Canada.
Homes, the book Comeau is defending, is the memoir of Iraq-born, Syria-raised teenager Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, who arrived in Canada as a refugee in 2014. In his passionate final argument, Comeau urged his fellow panellists to remember that the war in Syria continues today and that violence against Muslims in the Western world is on the rise.
"Homes is the book that we need right now. This is a book that there's just not a lot stories about this moment in time. This is about right now and I think there is something powerful about that. It's immediate, it's here and I think that's important," said Comeau.
"I want you guys to remember, it's not about me. We've all done an amazing job at defending all the books. But it's not about me. I didn't write this book. It's not my story. What I want you to reconnect with is how you felt when you first read these two books. How did it move you and which book moved you the most? Which one made you feel like it was the most important? I just want you to reconnect with that because what we say today, it's not how great she is, or I am, it's what this book did to you when you read it."
"In terms of my particular book...there's another group of people whose voices are entirely underrepresented in this world and it's the voice of the elderly. These are people who are all around us but essentially they are quite invisible... We are not going to have [a voice like Max's] soon. These are the last of the Holocaust survivors. I can guarantee you, there's not going to be another memoir like this."
After one hour of debate, the five panellists voted a fourth book off the show. Click here to find out who emerged the winner.
- Chuck Comeau defending Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung
- Lisa Ray defending Brother by David Chariandy
- Ziya Tong defending By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
- Yanic Truesdale defending Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
- Joe Zee defending The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong
Watch the replay of Day Four on this page or find other ways and times to tune in here.
Catch up on the other episodes of Canada Reads 2019: