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By Alix Ohlin. 2019
"Evocative...traces [its] characters over long arcs of time and place with equal amounts grace and wit. Most revelatory is the… way that each [sister] fights to find her own life as an artist outside the expectations of others and the demands of a male-dominated world."--Vogue A masterful achievement: a joint coming-of-age story and an achingly poignant portrait of the strange, painful, ultimately life-sustaining bonds between sisters. Lark and Robin are half-sisters whose similarities end at being named for birds. While Lark is shy and studious, Robin is wild and artistic. Raised in Montreal by their disinterested single mother, they form a fierce team in childhood regardless of their differences. As they grow up, Lark excels at school and Robin becomes an extraordinary pianist. At seventeen, Lark flees to America to attend college, where she finds her calling in documentary films, and her sister soon joins her. Later, in New York City, they find themselves tested: Lark struggles with self-doubt, and Robin chafes against the demands of Juilliard. Under pressure, their bond grows strained and ultimately is broken, and their paths abruptly diverge. Years later, Lark's life is in tatters and Robin's is wilder than ever. As Lark tries to take charge of her destiny, she discovers that despite the difficulties of their relationship, there is only one person she can truly rely on: her sister. In this gripping, unforgettable novel about art, ambition, sisterhood, motherhood, and self-knowledge, Alix Ohlin traces the rich and complicated lives of two indelible women. Dazzlingly insightful and beautifully crafted, Dual Citizens captures the unique language of sisters and makes visible the imperceptible strings that bind us to the ones we love for good.
By Zalika Reid-Benta. 2019
Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle -- of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a… "true" Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother's rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too "faas" or too "quiet" or too "bold" or too "soft." Set in "Little Jamaica," Toronto's Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig's head in her great aunt's freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother's house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents. A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.
By André Alexis. 2019
Botanist Alfred Homer, ever hopeful and constantly surprised, is invited on a road trip through Southwestern Ontario by his parents'… friend, Professor Morgan Bruno, who wants company as he tries to unearth the story of the mysterious poet John Skennen. But this is no ordinary road trip. As Alfred and the Professor encounter towns with familiar names but where Black residents speak only in sign language or where there are Indigenous Parades, house burnings, werewolves, and witches. Bestseller.
By Cherie Dimaline. 2019
Broken-hearted Joan has been searching for her husband, Victor, for almost a year--ever since he went missing on the night… they had their first serious argument. One terrible, hungover morning in a Walmart parking lot in a little town near Georgian Bay, she is drawn to a revival tent where the local Métis have been flocking to hear a charismatic preacher named Eugene Wolff. By the time she staggers into the tent, the service is over. But as she is about to leave, she hears an unmistakable voice. She turns, and there Victor is. The same face, the same eyes, the same hands. But his hair is short and he's wearing a suit and he doesn't recognize her at all. No, he insists, she's the one suffering a delusion: he's the Reverend Wolff and his only mission is to bring his people to Jesus. Except that, as Joan soon discovers, that's not all the enigmatic Wolff is doing. With only the help of Ajean, a foul-mouthed euchre shark with a knowledge of the old ways, and her odd, Johnny-Cash-loving, 12-year-old nephew Zeus, Joan has to find a way to remind the Reverend Wolff of who he really is. If he really is Victor. Her life, and the life of everyone she loves, depends upon it. 2019.
By K. D. Miller. 2018
A collection of linked short stories inspired by the paintings of Alex Colville. Each character appears in at least two… of the stories, in a greater or lesser role. The most common link is a ghost who directly or indirectly "haunts" the book throughout. There is more than a hint of the uncanny in some of the stories, and a strong whiff of the gothic. At its lightest, this book is dark, reflecting the edgy, distrubing quality found in much of Alex Colville's work. The common theme is the vulnerability of the elder heart. Many of the characters are aged sixty and up. Inwardly, however, they are ageless--yearning for each other sexually and emotionally, falling in and out of love, forming new ties or rediscovering old ones. Not all characters are human - a dog, a horse, and an octopus play small but pivotal roles. Death is a constant, taking both peaceful and violent forms. Its presence renders the characters' lives and relationships all the more poignant for being ephemeral. 2018.
By Eden Robinson. 2017
Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary… mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer, and now she's dead. Bestseller. 2017.
By Maureen Jennings. 2017
November 1917. The Great War is grinding on. Initially, Canadians are mostly eager to fight for the Empire, but the… carnage is horrendous and with enforced conscription, the enthusiasm for war is dimming. William Murdoch is a widower, a senior detective who, thanks to the new temperance laws, spends his time tracking down bootleggers and tipplers. His wife, Amy, died giving birth to their second child, a girl who lived only a few hours more. Murdoch, racked by grief, withdrew from his four-year-old son Jack, which he deeply regrets. Now, Jack is twenty-one and has returned from France after being wounded. It is soon apparent that he is deeply troubled and bound by shared secrets to another soldier, Percy McKinnon. The night after Jack and McKinnon arrive home, a young man is found beaten to death in the impoverished area of Toronto known as the Ward. Soon after, Murdoch has to deal with a tragic suicide, also a young man. Two more attacks follow in quick succession. The only common denominator is that all of the men were exempted from conscription. Increasingly worried that Jack knows more than he is letting on, Murdoch must solve these crimes before more innocents lose their lives. Sequel to "A journeyman to grief". 2017.
By Jonathan Auxier. 2018
Nineteenth-century England. After her father's disappearance Nan Sparrow, ten, works as a "climbing boy," aiding chimney sweeps, but when her… most treasured possessions end up in a fireplace, she unwittingly creates a golem. Winner of the 2018 Governor General’s Award for Young People's Literature. Grades 4-7. 2018.
By David Bezmozgis. 2019
In the title story, a father and his young daughter stumble into a bizarre version of his immigrant childhood. A… mysterious tech conference brings a writer to Montreal where he discovers new designs on the past in "How it Used to Be." A grandfather's Yiddish letters expose a love affair and a wartime secret in "Little Rooster." In "Roman's Song," Roman's desire to help a new immigrant brings him into contact with a sordid underworld. At his father's request, Victor returns to Riga, the city of his birth, and has his loyalties tested by the man he might have been in "A New Gravestone for an Old Grave." And, in the noir-inspired "The Russian Riviera," Kostya leaves Russia to pursue a boxing career only to find himself working as a doorman in a garish nightclub in the Toronto suburbs.
By Joan Donaldson-Yarmey. 2015
On his sixteenth birthday Phillipe Chabot is told that his brother-in-law has hired him to be a voyageur. He will… be paddling west from Montreal to Grade Portage to trade supplies with the Indians for furs. He is overjoyed and receives all the appropriate clothing from his family as birthday gifts, even a tobacco pouch.
This special four-book collection features stories of bravery and courage about early settlers and their relationships with the indigenous peoples… of Canada. B.J. Bayle's young adult fiction brings Canada's past alive on the page. Includes: Red River Rising In 1813, Angus, a young Scot, and his family endure hardships as they attempt to start a new life in Canada. As they struggle to survive, they find themselves caught up in the rivalry between two fur-trading empires. Shadow Riders In 1874 Rob McCann and his adopted Native brother Luke frantically chase after the thieves who have stolen their horses and wounded their father. They seek out the help of the North-West Mounted Police, and as Colonel George French attempts to escort the boys home, the brothers tag along with the NWMP men on an 800-mile journey. Battle Cry at Batoche Ben Muldoon witnesses the struggle of the Metis and Cree in the Saskatchewan River Valley in 1885. He is caught between his loyalty to a friend and the authority of an uncle. Perilous Passage In 1809, Peter, a victim of amnesia, embarks on a series of amazing adventures with David Thompson, soon to become a famous explorer and mapmaker.
By Jennifer Maruno. 2014
Jonny must travel to the distant past to understand the present As an orphaned white boy in a… school full of Native students fourteen-year-old Jonny Joe isn t like any of the others at the island Redemption Residential School off the west coast When the advances of Father Gregory disturb Jonny he joins another boy in an escape to a mountain cave But when they leave the cave the world as they knew it no longer exists The boys travel to a native village in a sheltered bay where Jonny becomes skilled in the art of carving When a steamship enters the cove the party of sightseers brings a disease that annihilates most of the people in the village Meanwhile Jonny has learned the secret of his past and when he returns to the present Jonny carves a totem pole to honour the members of the village
By B. J. Bayle. 2012
Angus and his family are sent from Scotland in 1813 on a voyage to start a new life in the… strange and cruel new land of western Canada. In 1813, cleared out from their beloved Scottish Highlands, 15-year-old Angus, his mother, father, small brother Rabbie, and 100 others sail for Canada to seek a better life with assistance from Lord Selkirk. Angus, his family, and their friends the O’Hares, with their aloof, unsmiling daughter Maggie, share the hardships and terror of the sea voyage only to be dumped onto the shore of a forbidding land. There they spend a brutal winter.With bitter determination and help from the Native population, the settlers manage to reach the Red River. They are eager to finally begin their new life but meet obstacles even more dangerous when they are caught up in a struggle between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, powerful fur-trading rivals. Despite this hard transition, Angus falls in love with this new land and takes his place beside the brave men who risk their lives to protect it.