Books

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood among 3 Canadian titles on Time magazine's 'must-read books of 2019' list

Bunny by Mona Awad and Women Talking by Miriam Toews also made the list.
Margaret Atwood's most recent novel is The Testaments. (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

Time has released their list of 100 must-read books of 2019 and three Canadian titles have made the list: the novels The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Bunny by Mona Awad and Women Talking by Miriam Toews.

The Testaments and Bunny were both recognized in the "suspense & altered worlds" category.

The Testaments, which is a sequel to Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, broke Canadian sales records after it was published in Sept. 2019. It also was a co-winner of this year's Booker Prize.

Also in the "suspense & altered worlds" category are Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Jamaican Booker Prize winner Marlon James and The Water Dancer by American writer and critic Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Women Talking is in the "realistic fiction" category. Women Talking was published in Canada in 2018, but came out in the U.S. this year. It was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the 2019 Trillium Book Award.

Also in the "realistic fiction" category are Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, the 1,000 page novel that's nearly one sentence long, and the novel that co-won the Booker Prize with The Testaments, Girl, Woman, Other by British author Bernardine Evaristo.

The latest novel by 2018 Nobel Prize for literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was recognized in the "literature in translation" category. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.

Jia Tolentino's essay collection Trick Mirror is on the list in the "memoir & essays" category. Tolentino is a staff writer for the New Yorker. She was born in Toronto, but grew up in the U.S.

You can see the full list on Time's website.

Keep reading to learn more about the chosen Canadian titles.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of The Testaments. (Alastair Grant/Canadian Press, McClelland & Stewart)

The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale and includes the "explosive testaments" of three women. The book answers 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, 80, has been publishing poetry, fiction and nonfiction since the 1960s. Her acclaimed books include The Handmaid's TaleAlias GraceOryx and Crake and The Edible Woman. She has won several awards for her work including the Governor General's Literary Award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Man Booker Prize. 

Margaret Atwood talks to Shelagh Rogers about The Testaments, the highly anticipated sequel to her 1985 bestseller, The Handmaid's Tale. 18:59

Bunny by Mona Awad

Bunny is a novel by Mona Awad. (Hamish Hamilton, Brigitte Lacombe)

In Bunny, scholarship student Samantha Heather Mackey feels like an outsider at her elite university, especially when it comes to her fiction writing class. That's where she first encounters the Bunnies, a comically tight-knit group of annoying rich girls who invite Samantha to their exclusive "Smut Salon." Against her better judgment, Samantha is drawn into the Bunnies' orbit.

Bunny is the second book by Awad. Her first, the linked short story collection 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, was shortlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the 2016 Amazon.ca First Novel Award. Awad was born in Montreal and currently lives in Boston.

Mona Awad talks to Shelagh Rogers about her latest novel, Bunny. 16:29

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews is the author of Women Talking. (CBC)

​In Women Talking, eight Mennonite women come together to talk. Why? They have 48 hours to make a decision that will impact every woman and child in their community. Women Talking is inspired by the real-life case in the 2000s, when women in a Bolivian Mennonite community began whispering that they were waking up groggy, in pain, feeling like they had been sexually molested.

Toews is the author of several acclaimed novels, including A Complicated Kindness, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for English-language fiction in 2004 and won Canada Reads in 2006, and All My Puny Sorrows, which won the 2014 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize. 

Miriam Toews talks to Shelagh Rogers about her novel Women Talking. 16:04

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