Fall is book award season! Get a jump on fall reading with these nominated titles.
Isaac, Brian Thomas, author
It's 1956, and six-year-old Eddie Toma lives with his mother, Grace, and his little brother, Lewis, near the Salmon River on the far edge of the Okanagan Indian Reserve in the British Columbia Southern Interior. Grace, her friend Isabel, Isabel's husband Ray, and his nephew Gregory cross the border to work as summer farm labourers in Washington state. There Eddie is free to spend long days with Gregory exploring the farm: climbing a hill to watch the sunset and listening to the wind in the grass. The boys learn from Ray's funny and dark stories. But when tragedy strikes, Eddie returns home grief-stricken, confused, and lonely. Eddie's life is governed by the decisions of the adults around him. Grace is determined to have him learn the ways of the white world by sending him to school in the small community of Falkland. On Eddie's first day of school, as he crosses the reserve boundary at the Salmon River bridge, he leaves behind his world. Grace challenges the Indian Agent and writes futile letters to Ottawa to protest the sparse resources in their community. His father returns to the family after years away only to bring chaos and instability. Isabel and Ray join them in an overcrowded house. Only in his grandmother's company does he find solace and true companionship. In his teens, Eddie's future seems more secure-he finds a job, and his long-time crush on his white neighbour Eva is finally reciprocated. But every time things look up, circumstances beyond his control crash down around him. The cumulative effects of guilt, grief, and despair threaten everything Eddie has ever known or loved. All the Quiet Places is the story of what can happen when every adult in a person's life has been affected by colonialism; it tells of the acute separation from culture that can occur even at home in a loved familiar landscape. Its narrative power relies on the unguarded, unsentimental witness provided by Eddie.
Kerr, Conor, author
"Avenue of Champions is a collection of interlinked stories that investigates the inherent connection of Indigenous peoples to the land and the permanence of culture, language and ceremony as a form of resistance to displacement. Based on Papaschase and Métis oral histories and lived experience, these stories set in Edmonton examine the relationship of Indigenous youth in the urban, colonial environment in which they eke out suvival-- from violence and racism to language revitalization and triumph."-- Provided by publisher.
Bulawayo, NoViolet, author
Glory shows a country's imploding, narrated by a chorus of animal voices that unveil the ruthlessness required to uphold the illusion of absolute power and the imagination and bulletproof optimism to overthrow it. At the centre of this tumult is Destiny, who has returned to the motherland from American to bear witness to revolution - and, unwittingly, narrate the secret history and the potential legacy of the women who have quietly pulled the strings in this country.
Nasrallah, Dimitri, 1978-
It's 1986, and Muna Heddad is in a bind. She and her son have moved to Montreal, leaving behind a civil war filled with bad memories in Lebanon. She had plans to find work as a French teacher, but no one in Quebec trusts her to teach the language. She needs to start making money, and fast. The only work Muna can find is at a weight-loss center as a hotline operator. All day, she takes calls from people responding to ads seen in magazines or on TV. On the phone, she's Mona, and she's quite good at listening. These strangers all have so much to say once someone shows interest in their lives--marriages gone bad, parents dying, isolation, personal inadequacies. Even as her daily life in Canada is filled with invisible barriers at every turn, at the office Muna is privy to her clients' deepest secrets.
Forget, André (Novelist), author
When Alexander Otkazov moves to Toronto, he is forced into a monkish existence by the unforgiving pressures of the city - until he stumbles across a story about an ambitious experimental music collective that could be his ticket to a better job and a better life. Desperate to prove himself as a journalist, Alexander unravels the threads tying everything he loves to everything he hates, he will have to confront his own most sordid desires and the lengths he is willing to go to achieve his dreams of an easy life.
Fu, Kim, author
In these twelve unforgettable tales, the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange. Each story builds a new world all its own. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, as they unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.
An unnamed narrator abandons his unfinished thesis and returns to northern Alberta in search of what eludes him: the shape of the novel he yearns to write, an autobiography of his rural hometown, the answers to existential questions about family, love, and happiness. What ensues is a series of conversations, connections, and disconnections that reveals the texture of life in a town literature has left unexplored, where the friction between possibility and constraint provides an insistent background score. Residence: Vancouver, B.C. Print run 10,000.
Wilson, Antoine, author
In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, Jeff Cook runs into a former classmate who only vagues remember him. Jeff reveals that he once resuscitated a drowning man, and, after that traumatic morning on the beach was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved. Discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. -- adapted from jacket
Strout, Elizabeth, author
Strout's iconic heroine Lucy Barton recounts her complex, tender relationship with William, her first husband -- and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante.
Heti, Sheila, 1976- author.
Here we are, just living in the first draft of creation, which was made by some great artist, who is now getting ready to tear it apart. In this first draft, a woman named Mira leaves home for school. There, she meets Annie, whose tremendous power opens Mira's chest like a portal--to what, she doesn't know. When Mira is older, her beloved father dies, and she enters the strange and dizzying dimension that true loss opens up. Pure Colour tells the story of a life, from beginning to end. It is a galaxy of a novel: explosive, celestially bright, huge, and streaked with beauty. It is a contemporary bible, an atlas of feeling, and a shape-shifting epic. Sheila Heti is a philosopher of modern experience, and she has reimagined what a book can hold.
It's 1929, and Baxter is lucky enough, as a Black man, to have a job as a sleeping car porter on a train that crisscrosses the country. On this particular trip out west, the passengers are more unruly than usual, especially when the train is stalled for two extra days and their secrets start to leak out. When he finds a naughty postcard of two gay men, Baxter's memories and longings are reawakened; keeping it puts his job in peril, but he can't part with the postcard or his thoughts of his Porter Instructor. Author of "Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall." Residence: Calgary, AB.
Keegan, Claire, author.
It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man, who is father to five girls, faces his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. 'Small Things Like These' is destined to be a modern classic from an original and a canonical presence in Irish fiction.
Hage, Rawi, author.
In Montreal, a photographer's unexpected encounter with actress Sophia Loren leads to a life-altering revelation about his dead mother. In Beirut, a disillusioned geologist eagerly awaits the destruction that will come with an impending tsunami. In Tokyo, a Jordanian academic delivering a lecture at a conference receives haunting news from the Persian Gulf. And in Berlin, a Lebanese writer forms a fragile, fateful bond with his voluble German neighbours. The irresistible characters in Stray Dogs lead radically different lives, but all are restless travelers, moving between states--nation-states and states of mind--seeking connection, escaping the past and following delicate threads of truth, only to experience the sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing and often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed, and reborn.
Everett, Percival, author.
When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive in Money, Mississippi, to investigate a series of brutal murders, they find at each crime scene an unexpected second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till. After meeting resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk, the MBI detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution. Then they discover eerily similar murders taking place in rapid succession all over the country. The past, it seems, refuses to be buried. The uprising has begun.
Lama, Tsering Yangzom, author
In the wake of China's 1959 invasion of Tibet, Lhamo and her sister, Tenkyi, arrive at a refugee camp on the border of Nepal where hope arrives in the form of an ancient statue - Nameless Saint, a relic long rumoured to vanish and reappear in times of need. Decades later, the sisters are separated, and Tenkyi is living with Lhamo's daughter, Dolma, in Toronto. When Dolma comes across a Nameless Saint in a collector's vault, she must decide what she is willing to do for her community, even if it means risking her dreams.
Parker, Fawn, 1994- author
"In front of me are hundreds of pages of work. Already I feel it leaving me. He will obliterate what is there, replace it, deny I ever wrote a word. But, he cannot take the words I write on my own. Hillary Greene's father, once a celebrated author and public figure, is now losing his memory and, with it, his ability to write. As her father's primary caretaker, each day begins with two eggs, boiled and Charlie Rose or some other host on the iPad screen. Her father compulsively watches himself in old interviews, memorizing his own speech, trying to hang on to who he was. An aspiring author herself, Hillary impulsively agrees to ghost-write his final work--a memoir spanning his career--and release it in his name. Diving deep into her father's past, and in turn her own, a horrifying truth begins to piece itself together. With full control over her father's memoir, Hillary is faced with a stark choice: reveal her father as a monster or preserve his legacy as a respected literary figure. But she wonders what writing the truth will do to her and if it will damage her own prospects for a career. Whichever option she chooses, Hillary has to deal with the significant pain writing the memoir has re-surfaced--specifically, how the truth about her father adds to her grief over the death of her enigmatic sister, Pauline. For the first time in her life, Hillary holds the power. Set in the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, What We Both Know is a visceral, intimate, and complex novel about confronting the personal and professional consequences--and potentially devastating fallout--of revealing the truth about a famous man." -- Provided by publisher.