All Lit Up Book Club: Further Reading after The Figgs

August 22, 2018

And just like that, book club is finished for another summer. We’ve had only ups reading The Figgs’ ups and downs: from interviewing both publisher Freehand Books and author Ali Bryan, and having our own staff discussion that ended in fits of laughter. Because we hate goodbyes, we dug up four follow-up reads that will ease us into a life post-The Figgs.

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Here are four books to follow up Ali Bryan’s The Figgs:


If you want to read more weather-all-storms marriages, like June and Randy Figg’s...




Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist (Linda Leith Publishing)



In the opening chapter of The Figgs, retired married couple June and Randy’s plans to move into the next phase of their life are interrupted – abruptly – by their youngest son’s announcement that he’s about to be a father. In Jennifer Quist’s Love Letters of the Angels of Death, it’s not new life but death with which married couple Carrie and Brigs have to contend; the finding of Brigs’ mother’s corpse in her mobile home. While their circumstances and ages are so different, Carrie and Brigs equal June and Randy through their unwavering, mutual support for their spouses in the most difficult times.






If you’re looking to continue exploring the fraught love and decisions that sometimes come with adoption...




Delivery by Betty Jane Hegerat (Oolichan Books)



While June Figg yearns for the empty nest that Lynn Howard gets in Betty Jane Hegerat’s Delivery, both women end up contending with their early-twenties child (Derek for June, Heather for Lynn) unexpectedly showing up with a baby. Lynn deals with Heather’s waffling on putting the baby up for adoption – ultimately being tasked with bringing the baby to the adoptive parents – while June’s own identity as an adopted child is shaken as she wonders how it all could have been different.






If the (sometimes explosive) “chemistry” between the Figg adult siblings was something you’re telling Mom about…




Autobiography of Childhood by Sina Queyras (Coach House Books)



If the loaded, hilarious interactions between the adult children Figgs Tom, Vanessa, and Derek were your favourite part of the book, follow The Figgs with its serious counterpart, Sina Queyras’ Autobiography of Childhood. Her grown Combal children reckon with the impending death of one of their own and all of the injustices – petty and otherwise – that they incurred in their childhoods. If Ali Bryan's Figgs could be at home in the quirkiness of a Wes Anderson movie, Queyras’ Combals are fit for the ache that hides behind Sofia Coppola’s work.






If the Figgs and their friends’ universe of quirk and hilarity is what’ll bring you back to the next Bryan novel, and the next, and the next…




Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks (NeWest Press)



Author of Leacock Medal Award-winning novel Dance Gladys, Dance Cassie Stocks is a big fan of The Figgs, calling it “modern mayhem at its finest.” And no wonder: her own novel is full of the love-filled mayhem readers come to know, through the chosen family of main character Freida Zweig. We love how the characters in each novel are in a bit of a slump to start, but all rally for each other when the chips – the impending closure of a local community centre or an unexpected baby – are down, and through that mutual support, end up building strength for themselves.






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Bye-bye, book club! It's been a trip. Catch up on all we've been up to this summer right here, and save 15% on our picks  Zolitude by Paige Cooper (Biblioasis) and  The Figgs by Ali Bryan (Freehand Books) up until August 31st.


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