Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Fall 2010 Preview: Canlit to Get Your Hands and Holds On. . .
Practical Jean by Trevor Cole
A black comedy about a woman who decides to give her long-time friends a last moment of happiness - and then kill them. It's out of love though, she just can't bear to see them get old, sick and filled with regrets. A bizarre and oddly moving mediation on the tensions, slights and challenges of friendship.
Tales From An Uncertain Country by Jacques Ferron, translated by Betty Bednarski
The Proper Use of Stars by Dominique Fortier, translated by Sheila Fischman
The Beauty of the Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
A novel set in contemporary Vietnam involving a young tour guide who takes American vets on "war tours" and a young woman searching for clues about her father's disappearance in the war.
A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor
I loved Taylor's first novel Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen. In this new book, she returns to the same historical period (and a preoccupation of Proust) and weaves an historical novel around the complicated Dreyfus case that rocked France at the turn of the 20th century.
Sanctuary Line by Jane UrquhartOne of Canada's favourite novelists is back with a multi-generational tale that incorporates three very different love stories, lighthouse keepers, a woman soldier;s experience in Afghanistan and the long migratory flight of the Monarch butterfly.
The Frumkiss Family Business by Michael Wex
There's a lot of humour in Canlit this season which is freshing to see, and this comic family saga seems the perfect example. Any book that bills itself as Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks without the stodgy Germans or The Brothers Karamazov with only one brother, is worth a look. It's also set not far from my own Toronto neighbourhood and many of my colleagues are raving about it.
Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersma
A midlife crisis meets the supernatural, as a father with plenty of problems of his own, has to rescue his child who is quite literally lost in the pages of his favourite book. Sounds like Cornelia Funke for adults, but looks entertaining all the same.
Fauna by Alissa York
Set in Toronto's Rosedale Valley Ravine, this novel is set around a sanctuary to help heal the urban wildlife that no one cares about. And in turn, many broken humans are also encountered. Some of the characters like to quote from Watership Down which has already endeared them to me.
They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Romeo Dallaire
Dallaire is fully committed to eradicating the use of child soldiers worldwide and this book should be extremely powerful and moving.
Mordecai: The Life and Times by Charles Foran
The big literary biography of the season. With the film of Barney's Version also coming out this fall, look for a lovely Mordecai revival everywhere.
The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock
Arrival City by Doug Saunders
A look at the huge migrations of people worldwide from rural to urban centers and the political, social and economical challenges they are causing for this century. I read Saunders regularly in the Globe and Mail and think this will be a very intelligent, thought-provoking book.