With so many amazing books being published every year, some don’t get the attention they deserve. Here are 12 great Canadian novels we think deserve another look.
From the book: Little had changed and yet everything had changed. On this, the anniversary of his attempted suicide, Walter Barnes sat in one of the two chairs he now owned, reading one of his two books. Of the two, a Bible and the Arden King Lear, he had chosen the Bible, not for any consciously spiritual reason but rather because he found it beautiful and amusing, in particular the Pentateuch, of which he was reading Leviticus.He was not aware that a year had passed since he’d first tried to kill himself. If he had been, he would not have known whether to rejoice or mourn; though, in any case, he might well have chosen to mark the event in this way: reading, at home.
From Asylum by André Alexis ©2009. Published by Emblem Editions.
***From the publisher: Hoda, the protagonist of Crackpot, is one of the most captivating characters in Canadian fiction. Graduating from a tumultuous childhood to a life of prostitution, she becomes a legend in her neighbourhood, a canny and ingenious woman, generous, intuitive, and exuding a wholesome lust for life. Resonant with myth and superstition, this radiant novel is a joyous celebration of life and the mystery that is at the heart of all experience.
From the book: In the daytime her frail and ever-so-slightly humpbacked mother, or so they described her to blind Danile before they rushed them off to be married, used to take Hoda along with her to the houses where she cleaned. And partly to keep her quiet, and partly because of an ever-present fear, for she felt that she would never have another child, Rahel carried always with her, in a large, cotton kerchief, tied into a peasant-style sack, a magically endless supply of food. All day long, at the least sign of disquiet, she fed the child, for Hoda even then was big-voiced and forward, and sometimes said naughty things to people. Rather than risk having an employer forbid her the privilege of bringing the little girl to work, Rahel forestalled trouble. Things can’t go in and out of the same little mouth simultaneously.
From Crackpot by Adele Wiseman ©1974. Published by New Canadian Library.
[Editor’s note: Thank you, Ashlie, for sending the link.]