Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Heather O’Neill’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night (2014)

When a passage on page two is just breathtakingly powerful, readers’ expectations soar. It seems impossible to imagine reading beyond this passage without stopping to reread, or not reading it aloud to a friend sitting alongside, or not tapping the stranger sitting next to you, pointing and saying “Check this out”.

HarperCollins, 2014

Debra Komar’s The Lynching of Peter Wheeler (2014)

Debra Komar creates a narrative which manages to straddle the line between scholarly analysis and page-turner, relying upon court records, newspapers, and other historical documentation to gather evidence surrounding the murder of 14-year-old Annie Kempton in Bear River, Nova Scotia in 1896.

Goose Lane Editions, 2014

“This book looks back so we can see [...]

Alexi Zentner’s The Lobster Kings (2014)

Like his first novel, Touch, The Lobster Kings showcases Alexi Zentner’s penchant for storytelling.

Knopf Canada, 2014

Readers who learn that this novel is a retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear” might expect the tale to distance readers, with the original story centuries old and memories of stilted readings in school or black-and-white films [...]

Tamai Kobayashi’s Prairie Ostrich (2014)

You might be tempted to call eight-year-old Egg Murakami enchanting or winsome. Even plucky or spirited.

Goose Lane Editions, 2014

Each of these terms does reflect Egg in some sense. But such descriptions suggest something young-Oprah-heroine-esque about her.

Egg’s character is too fully rounded to simply select the glossy, desirable qualities. (Rounded or ovalled? [...]

Shani Mootoo’s Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab (2014)

Shani Mootoo sidles up to her story.

Random House Canada, 2014

A novel like Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is more openly preoccupied with questions of grief and loss.

One like Shyam Selvadurai’s The Hungry Ghosts explores family relationships and the passage of time in a familiar then/now rhythm.

In Moving [...]

Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao (2014)

The dedication to Padma Viswanathan’s second novel: For the lost, and for the living.

Random House of Canada, 2014

Therein, the reader haa a clue, for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is equally preoccupied with losing and living.

The novel opens in 2004, on the precipice of the trial which was to address the 1985 fatal bombing [...]

Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk (2014)

One might say that Medicine Walk is a novel about the disconnect between a father and a son.

McClelland & Stewart, 2014

“Eldon Starlight. Franklin Starlight. Four blunt syllables conjuring nothing. When he appeared the kid would watch him and whisper his name under his breath, waiting for a hook to emerge, [...]

Sean Michaels’ Us Conductors (2014)

Sean Michaels’ prose invites readers to participate in the relationship between sound and shape through the simple but beautiful language of Us Conductors.

Random House of Canada, 2014

His images are simple and fresh, and they are momentarily disorienting – as beautiful things can be.

“I didn’t laugh but you did, a laugh like [...]

Steven Galloway’s The Confabulist (2014)

It doesn’t get much more obvious than stacking these truths on the book jacket: there it is.

Knopf Canada, 2014

The Confabulist Steven Galloway

For even though the noun more commonly associated with ‘confabulate’ is ‘confabulation’, what is most important here is not the story itself but the voice behind the story: [...]

This One Summer: A True Favourite

These sentences are dappled across a two-page spread of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer (2014), as though they are wafts of milkweed ink:

House of Anansi, 2014

“The first time I ever saw a milkweed was on the beach at Awago. I thought they were magic pods. I thought that [...]