Best Bets: For "here and there" reads

November 14, 2022

Our first set of Best Bets picks are two novels featuring characters on the move, changing their surroundings in the hope of finding something better. Almost Visible by Michelle Sinclair (Baraka Books) and  Yellow Watch by Carmelinda Scian (Mawenzi House) would be the perfect gift for the introspective, empathetic reader who loves reading about lives different from their own.

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Best Bets: Something for Everyone.


Almost Visible by Michelle Sinclair (Baraka Books)


Almost Visible follows Tess, a woman who seeks to distract herself from her own problems by involving herself in the lives of others. She soon meets an elderly man with a difficult past, who found himself divided between loved ones in his Latin American home country during political strife in the 1970s. By poring over his memorabilia and journals from the time period, Tess is also forced to reckon with her own past, and her own leaving home.


But you don't have to take our word for it: 

“There is an intensity in Michelle Sinclair’s writing – depth of insight into each character, each setting and each moment – that draws the reader into the words of her story. (…) Almost Visible is a powerful study in themes of cultural and personal memory … Every word, every moment has a place in her writing. This makes for excellent reading.” Anne Smith-Nochasak, The Miramichi Reader


Almost Visible is a poignant, time-traversing literary novel about the rewards of daring to involve oneself in a stranger’s pain.” –Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews

“A novel that wisely and compassionately explores the self-shattering lines that exist between altruism and betrayal, cynicism and idealism, and the harsh price paid by both sides.” –David Adams Richards, Giller and Governor-General award winner

Almost Visible was named by CBC Books as one of the 65 Canadian fiction books to watch for this Fall.


Buy Almost Visible for 15% off (with free shipping in Canada)!



Yellow Watch by Carmelinda Scian (Mawenzi House)


A sweeping novel-in-stories that follows a Portuguese family over the generations, Yellow Watch takes the reader first to the small rural town of Amendoeiro, under oppressive fascist rule in the 1950s, and then to the immigrant enclaves of Toronto. All of it through the eyes of Milita, a girl we watch grow in these stories under Scian's deft hand.


But you don't have to take our word for it:

“This charming collection of stories reflects what is often inherited—colourful tales in voices from people who seem far away and yet familiar. Carmelinda Scian lovingly turns these fictional characters in her hands. A moving debut.” —Anthony De Sa, author of Barnacle Love and Children of the Moon


"These beautiful stories are both haunting and comforting. Compelling characters travel disparate worlds of childhood and adulthood, of old fears and new families and face the twin complexities of migrating to the urban sprawl of Canada or revisiting ancient stone villages in Portugal. Poetic, nostalgic, and honest, Yellow Watch is a rare treat. " –Mark Anthony Jarman, author of 19 Knives

"'The Butterfly First' is a poignant and memorable account of a young girl's encounter with the tragedy and hypocrisy of the adult world. The story is told through a series of beautifully rendered scenes and the writing throughout is powerful, original, and evocative. " –Helen Humphreys, author of Rabbit Foot Bill

The title story, "Yellow Watch," was nominated for the 2018 Journey Prize.


Buy Yellow Watch for 15% off (with free shipping in Canada)!


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We hope you'll follow along with us and our #ALUbestbets picks these next two weeks! Keep track and see all of the books on deck, right here.

If you have your own accolades for these books to add, please do! Share in the comments below or on socials @alllitupcanada.


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