When Morris Schutt, a prominent newspaper columnist, surveys his life over the past year, he sees disaster everywhere. His son has just been killed in Afghanistan, and his newspaper has put him on indefinite leave; his psychiatrist wife, Lucille, seems headed for the door; he is strongly attracted to Ursula, the wife of a dairy farmer from Minnesota; and his daughter appears to be having an affair with one of her professors.What is a thinking man to do but turn to Cicero and Plato and Socrates in search of the truth? Or better still, call one of those discreet dating services in search of happiness? But happiness, as Morris discovers, is not that easy to find.
International bestselling author Douglas Coupland delivers a real-time, five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end.
In Cities of Refuge, Michael Helm’s keenly anticipated new novel, a single act of violence resonates through several lives, connecting closeby fears to distant political terrors. At the story’s centre is the complex, intensely charged relationship between a 28-year-old woman and the father who abandoned her when she was young.
In Light Lifting, Alexander MacLeod’s long-awaited first collection of short stories, the author offers us a suite of darkly urban and unflinching elegies for a city and community on the brink. Anger and violence simmer just beneath the surface and often boil over, resulting in both tragedy and tragedy barely averted. But as bleak as these stories sometimes are, there is also hope, beauty and understanding.
In Middle East lore the Debba is a mythical Arab hyena that can turn into a man who lures Jewish children away from their families to teach them the language of the beasts. To the Arabs he is a heroic national symbol; to the Jews he is a terrorist. To David Starkman, “The Debba” is a controversial play, written by his father the war hero, and performed only once, in Haifa in 1946, causing a massive riot.
Set against the backdrop of a fictional English-language newspaper based in Rome, it begins as a celebration of the beloved and endangered role of newspapers and the original 24/7 news cycle. Yet Rachman pushes beyond nostalgia by crafting an apologue that better resembles a modern-day Dubliners than a Mad Men exploration of the halcyon past. The chaos of the newsroom becomes a stage for characters unified by a common thread of circumstance, with each chapter presenting an affecting look into the life of a different player.
Sarah Selecky’s first book takes dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed.
Napoleon Haskell lives with Henry in the town of Casablanca, Ontario, on the shores of a man-made lake beneath which lie the remains of the former town. Henry is the father of Napoleon’s friend Owen, who died fighting in Vietnam. When her life comes apart, Napoleon’s daughter retreats to Casablanca and is soon immersed in the complicated family stories that lurk below the surface of everyday life. With its quiet mullings and lines from Bogart, The Sentimentalists captures a daughter’s wrestling with a heady family mythology.
Lemon has three mothers: a biological one she’s never met, her adopted father’s suicidal ex, and Drew, a school principal who hasn’t left the house since she was stabbed by a student. She has one deadbeat dad, one young cancer-riddled protégé, and two friends, the school tramp and a depressed poet.
Figuring the numbers are against her, Lemon just can’t be bothered trying to fit in. She spurns fashion, television, and even the mall. She reads Mary Wollstonecraft and gets pissed off that Jane Eyre is such a wimp. Meanwhile, the adults in her life are all mired in self-centredness, and the other kids are getting high, beating each other up in parks, and trying to outsex one another. High school is misery, a trial run for an unhappy adulthood of bloated waistlines, bad sex, contradictions, and inequities, and nothing guidance counsellor Blecher can say will convince Lemon otherwise.
But making the choice to opt out of sex and violence and cancer and disappointment doesn’t mean that these things don’t find you. It will be up to Lemon if she can survive them with her usual cavalier aplomb.
More than 40 years before the publication of The Origin of Species, 12-year-old Mary Anning, a cabinet-maker's daughter, found the first intact skeleton of a prehistoric dolphin-like creature, and spent a year chipping it from the soft cliffs near Lyme Regis. This was only the first of many important discoveries made by this incredible woman, perhaps the most important paleontologist of her day.
Set in the present day on a farm at the shores of Lake Erie, Jane Urquhart's stunning new novel weaves elements from the nineteenth-century past, in Ireland and Ontario, into a gradually unfolding contemporary story of events in the lives of the members of one family that come to alter their futures irrevocably. There are ancestral lighthouse-keepers, seasonal Mexican workers; the migratory patterns and survival techniques of the Monarch butterfly; the tragedy of a young woman's death during a tour of duty in Afghanistan; three very different but equally powerful love stories. Jane Urquhart brings to vivid life the things of the past that make us who we are, and reveals the sometimes difficult path to understanding and forgiveness.
Juliet, Saskatchewan, is a blink-of-an-eye kind of town--the welcome sign announces a population of 1,011 people--and it's easy to imagine that nothing happens on its hot and dusty streets. Situated on the edge of the Little Snake sand hills, Juliet and its inhabitants are caught in limbo between a century-old promise of prosperity and whatever lies ahead.But the heart of the town beats in the rich and overlapping stories of its people: the foundling who now owns the farm his adoptive family left him; the pregnant teenager and her mother, planning a fairytale wedding; a shy couple, well beyond middle age, struggling with the recognition of their feelings for one another; a camel named Antoinette; and the ubiquitous wind and sand that forever shift the landscape. Their stories bring the prairie desert and the town of Juliet to vivid and enduring life.
In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret -- the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows to adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self -- a girl he thinks of as Annabel -- is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. Haunting, sweeping in scope, and stylistically reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, Annabel is a compelling debut novel about one person's struggle to discover the truth in a culture that shuns contradiction
Labels: canadian, Giller long list, The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman