If You Liked x, Read y: Canada Reads Edition – Day 1!

March 21, 2016

Today kicked off the 2016 Canada Reads competition: five books are in the ring that signify "starting over". Their characters, situations, and relationships all start anew. With debates that were equally heartfelt and articulate from all five defenders, it was the seasoned fighter that took the brunt of the blows on Day One.

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Despite a Steve Harvey-style mishap from new host Jill Deacon briefly indicating the contrary, the first book eliminated from this year's Canada Reads is Michael Winter's Minister Without Portfolio. Wrestler Adam Copeland (or “Edge” to the acquainted) valiantly defended this novel. Definitely the odd book out in this year’s Canada Reads bout, Winter’s sparsely written novel follows protagonist and “Minister without Portfolio” in question – the drifting Henry Hayward – finding himself after a devastating breakup and twin, accidental tragedies in Kabul and Fort Mac. Henry’s next steps have him taking up with all the loose threads of his late friend Tender’s life: his pregnant girlfriend and derelict family home in remote Renews, Newfoundland.

Carellin Brooks’ debut novel One Hundred Days of Rain (BookThug) begins the same as Minister Without Portfolio – a breakup with a long-term partner, and the messy division of shared persons and things that results. Both characters experience the stymying disillusionment of “what next?”, Carellin’s protagonist saddled with the added responsibility of a young son. The main character’s daily meditations on rainy Vancouver pair well with Winter’s descriptions of (fictional) Renews’ rugged coastline, and her detachment from the very real, very serious happenings in the fallout of her breakup match Henry’s own cool outlook on the events surrounding him.

 

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Be sure to tune in tomorrow to check out our next Canada Reads rec! We'll be reading along, all week long.


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