Books

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Women Talking by Miriam Toews on New York Times 100 'notable books' of 2019

Two Canadian titles made the annual list, which includes fiction, poetry and nonfiction.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Women Talking by Miriam Toews are on the New York Times list of 100 notable books of 2019. (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images, CBC)

The New York Times has released their list of 100 "notable books" of 2019.

Two Canadian titles made the list: the novels The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Women Talking by Miriam Toews.

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

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

Women Talking was published in Canada in 2018, but came out in the U.S. this year. 

​In the novel, eight Mennonite women 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.

It was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the 2019 Trillium Book Award.

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 Sorrowswhich 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

Fiction titles on the list include the novels The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, Normal People by Sally Rooney and the short story collection Grand Union by Zadie Smith.

Nonfiction titles on the list include former First Lady Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming and the essay collection Trick Mirror by Canadian-born American writer Jia Tolentino.

No Canadian titles made the top 10. The top 10 is:

You can see the full top 10 on the New York Times's website.

You can see their full list of 100 notable titles here.

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