Bookville – Fiction

Browse a selection of groundbreaking, notable fiction from Canadian independent literary publishers.

All Books in this Collection

Showing 17–32 of 40 results

  • In the Belly of the Sphinx

    In the Belly of the Sphinx


    Grant Buday’s new novel is an eccentric coming-of-age story that captures the late-Victorian fascination with ancient Egypt, auras, and the afterlife.

    Smart, stubborn, and forthright Pearl Greyland-Smith is nine years old when we first meet her, in 1882. She lives with her widowed mother, Florence, in Victoria’s James Bay neighbourhood. Pearl’s father was a Hussar who died in Afghanistan, or that’s what Florence has always told Pearl. But when an Irish woman named Cassidy arrives at their door and addresses Florence as Sinead, Pearl begins to realize she may not know very much about her origins at all.

    An avid reader with a rich inner life, as Pearl grows up she nonetheless confronts the scarcity of choices available to women. Yet while lacking in certain amenities, Pearl and Florence’s days are anything but dull, populated by characters easily at home in a Dickens novel: the earnest and enigmatic amateur scientist Charles Gloster, their bawdy, theosophist housemaid Carpy, inspector Osmo Beattie, and imperialist newspaper columnist Harry Hearne. Then a fateful encounter at a solstice fête throws Pearl’s whole future into question.

    This delightful coming-of-age story, imbued with the Victorian fascination for auras and the afterlife, will appeal to readers of Patrick DeWitt and Eleanor Catton. Once again Grant Buday has turned distant West Coast history upside down and created a vivid world intimately relevant to us today.

  • Inescapable: A Ghost Story

    Inescapable: A Ghost Story


    Trying to come to terms with the passing of her husband, an acclaimed and controversial Canadian artist, Aimee Westerberg is spiralling into depression instead. Her identity as George Westerberg’s younger second wife has thrown her into a fight with his family over the estate, Troubled and grieving, Aimee escapes into her work as an art-restorer at Calgary’s Glenbow museum, only to find herself pursued by Bear Cardinal, a journalist writing an exposé on the infamous artist’s entangled life. But dealing with Bear is far from her only worry… As Aimee tries to piece together the true character of her late husband, her fragmented memories come into contact with what appears to be a phantom version of George. Is this obsessive ghost truly her husband, determined to maintain his hold on her, or some darker suggestion of Aimee’s own mind? Unable to mourn while tormented by a poltergeist, Aimee must figure out how to un-tether herself from her troubled past, and escape forces from both this world and beyond.

  • Lásko



    “Extraordinary—and totally engrossing. Lásko is at once an intimate tale of personal awakening, a love story, and a provocative parable about the lures and dangers of influence.” JOHANNA SKIBSRUD, author of Island

    When Mája was seven, her mother disappeared. Now Mája has an urge to do the same. She leaves her fiancé in Canada and follows signs that she believes are leading her to the Czech Republic, her mother’s home country.

    In Prague, she falls in love with Kuba, a charismatic musician who is a rising star in Czech New Age circles. As she navigates this irresistible and overwhelming relationship, Mája is guided by dreams, visions, and synchronicities, but she also suffers from a mysterious illness and the unshakeable sense that something is terribly wrong.

    Revealing both the falseness and truth of the stories we tell ourselves, Catherine Cooper’s novel is sharply observed, darkly funny, and ultimately moving—a profound meditation on the pain and potency of love.

  • Leaving Wisdom

    Leaving Wisdom


    Sharon Butala’s new novel begins with the wrong kind of bang when retiring social worker Judith falls on the ice on the way to her retirement party. The debilitating concussion that follows seems to shake loose a confusing whirl of memories.

    Judith is a mother of four, and her relationships with her daughters are complicated. They all seem to have men trouble, except for the wild daughter who seems to have settled down, inexplicably to Judith, in Jerusalem. With her ears still ringing and her strength compromised by a shaky recovery, Judith leaves Calgary and, to everyone’s bewilderment, moves back to the town near the family farm. In Wisdom, Saskatchewan, she confronts many unanswered questions: Why was her father, a World War Two vet, so troubled? What are her brother and sister hiding from her? As she pursues answers to unsolved mysteries in her own life, more complicated and wider ranging questions arise.

    Living in a small town is a shock after the anonymity of a big city. Judith finds herself exposed to watchful neighbours, and she is watchful in turn, seeing things that are mystifying at first — and then alarming. Small town bigotry and what looks like a serious crime unfolding in the house next door make her return even more difficult — what is she doing here? Does she have enough wisdom to unravel her past? Does she have a future in a place where she is not exactly welcome?

    This thought-provoking and very readable tale shows not only the suffering that comes from family secrets, but also unfolds one woman?s late life awakening to the complex shadows cast by World War Two and the Holocaust.

  • Lump



    A dark, satiric novel about a woman whose attempt to escape crises in her health and marriage ends up causing more chaos.

    Cat’s career has stalled, her marriage has gone flat, and being a stay-at-home mom for two young kids has become a grind. When she finds out, all within a few days, that she is pregnant, that a lump in her breast is the worst thing it could be, and that her husband has done something unforgivably repulsive, she responds by running away from her marriage and her life ? a life that, on the outside, looks like middle-class success. Her actions send waves of chaos through the lives of multiple characters, including a struggling house cleaner, a rich and charismatic yoga guru, and even an ailing dog. What follows is a dark comedy about marriage, motherhood, privilege, and power.


  • Making Up the Gods

    Making Up the Gods


    Making Up the Gods is equal parts quirky and sincere in its thoughtful exploration of tragedy and recovery, of new and old relationships, and of deeper questions of when to let the past rest.

    Simone, a retired widow, would live a quiet and isolated life, if not for the lingering ghosts of her family. One day, Simone is visited at her home by a man named Martin claiming to be her cousin. When Martin asks if Simone is willing to sell her cottage by the lake, a proposition made sweeter by the prospect of a condo in Florida, Simone, though pleased at the thought of a cousin, also questions his intentions.

    Where among her past has Martin even come from, and why has he emerged in this moment? The burden of making a decision is all the more difficult because Simone has agreed to take care of a friend’s nine-year-old boy, Chen, for a short time while his mother enjoys a much-needed vacation. Simone finds her match in Chen, a curious and precocious boy grieving the loss of his father and stepbrother in an accident that has shaken the entire community.

    Can Simone hide her ability to see her family ghosts? Will Martin succeed in extorting Simone’s beloved home–and worse, is he a danger to Chen? Because of Chen and Martin, Simone is caught between her ties to the past and her desire to embrace the company of the living.

  • My Work

    My Work


    From the acclaimed author of the International Booker Prize–shortlisted literary sensation, The Employees, comes a radical, funny, and mercilessly honest novel about motherhood.

    Anna is utterly lost. Still in shock after the birth of her son, she moves to snowbound Stockholm with her newborn and boyfriend, where a chasm soon opens between the couple. Lonely and isolated, Anna reads too many internet articles and shops for clothes she cannot afford. To avoid sinking deeper into her depression, she must read and write herself back into her proper place in the world.

    My Work is a fervent, intimate, and compulsive examination of the relationship between motherhood, writing, and everyday life. In a mesmerizing, propulsive blend of prose, poetry, journal entries, and letters, Olga Ravn probes the pain, postpartum depression, housework, shopping, mundanity, and anxiety of motherhood, all the while celebrating the unbounded that comes from the love in a parent and child relationship—and rediscovering oneself through art.

  • Our Lady of Mile End

    Our Lady of Mile End


    Our Lady of Mile End is a neighbourhood of stories where recurring characters face personal challenges and unexpected intimacies against a backdrop of renoviction threats and walking tours.

    The overlapping lives (of girls and women, tenants and landlords, neighbours and strangers, the old generation and the next) chart the tensions and affections among people living in a community that has turned into a destination.

  • Pale Shadows: A Novel of Emily Dickinson

    Pale Shadows: A Novel of Emily Dickinson



    Dickinson after her death: a novel of the trio of women who brought Emily Dickinson’s poems out of the shadows 

    When she died, Emily Dickinson left behind hundreds of texts scribbled on scraps of paper. She also left behind three formidable women: her steadfast sister, Lavinia; her brother’s ambitious mistress, Mabel Loomis Todd; and his grief-stricken wife, Susan Gilbert Dickinson. With no clear instructions from Emily, these three women would, through mourning and strife, make from those scraps of paper a book that would change American literature.

    From the author of Paper Houses, this is the improbable, almost miraculous, story of the birth of a book years after the death of its author. In these sensitive and luminous pages, Dominique Fortier explores, through Dickinson’s poetry, the mysterious power that books have over our lives, and the fragile and necessary character of literature.

  • Rosa’s Very Own Personal Revolution

    Rosa’s Very Own Personal Revolution


    Rosa Ost grows up in Notre-Dame-du-Cachalot, a tiny village at the end of the world, where two industries are king: paper and Boredom. The only daughter of Terese Ost (a fair-to-middling trade unionist and a first-rate Scrabble player), the fate that befalls Rosa is the focus of this tale of long journeys and longer lives, of impossible deaths, unwavering prophecies, and unsettling dreams as she leaves her village for Montreal on a quest to summon the westerly wind that has proved so vital to the local economy.

    From village gossips, tealeaf-reading exotic dancers, and Acadian red herrings to soothsaying winkles and centuries-old curses, Rosa’s Very Own Personal Revolution is a delightful, boundary-pushing story about stories and the storytellers who make them – and a reminder that revolutions in Quebec aren’t always quiet.

  • Sisu’s Winter War

    Sisu’s Winter War


    When memories threaten to disappear, past promises must be confronted.

    Meri Saari made a promise to her dying mother she would keep the family together, but she was too young to know how a war can pull people apart. As a teenager responsible for her siblings she finds herself following her father to the front lines during the Winter War when he goes missing in action. Forty years later, living in northern Ontario, Meri’s past and present collide when she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Responsible for her granddaughter, and navigating a strained relationship with her daughter Linnea, Meri is haunted by the people of her past and by the promises she failed to keep. As she struggles against her inevitable decline, she knows her losses are amassing: her home, her health, and her memories. Meri embarks on one last journey in search of the man she had to give up, and before it’s too late. Before everything disappears.

  • Soft Serve

    Soft Serve


    Allison Graves’ edgy debut collection of short fiction scrutinizes unconventional and confused attachments between people and the reasons they last. The extraordinary becomes the ordinary as people navigate the weird, the quirky, and the sad aspects of everyday life.

    Through encounters in retail and fast food chains, on highways and dating apps, the characters in this collection wander through the non-places of our modern lives. The stories connect readers to the spaces that ultimately make them feel lost—zones for reconsideration. Delving into the confusion and boredom of everyday life, Graves’ fiction documents the emotional experiences and disillusionment of middle-class millennials seeking a meaningful life in both the isolating and the ordinary.

  • The Clarion

    The Clarion


  • The Cobra and the Key

    The Cobra and the Key


    “A relentlessly witty work of satire, the mastery of which is veiled behind Shelstad’s deceptively clean and cool prose.” —Fawn Parker, Giller Prize–longlisted author of What We Both Know

    “The Canadian literary landscape is all the richer for Sam Shelstad and his brilliant twisted books.” —Anna Fitzpatrick, author of Good Girl

    Sam Shelstad’s brilliantly funny, slightly unhinged creative writing guide is How Fiction Works by James Wood meets Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov.

    To the untrained eye, Sam Shelstad may look a lot like a Value Village cashier who shares an apartment with his Uncle Herman and has just emerged from a failed relationship with a woman forty years his senior whom he met at his mother’s book club. But Sam is a successful novelist—or will be soon, he’s certain. The manuscript of his debut novel, The Emerald, is currently on the desk of a celebrated indie publisher. While he waits to hear back, he’s hard at work on two ambitious writing projects. The first is the Molly novel, a fictional rendering of Sam’s newly defunct relationship. The second is a guide for aspiring fiction writers like yourself. The two have much to teach one another, and much to teach you.

    Drawing on examples from the work of greats like George Orwell, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Munro, Kazuo Ishiguro, Clarise Lispector, and Sam Shelstad, The Cobra and the Key takes the novice through aspects of character, detail, plot, style, point of view, dialogue, and meaning. Before long, you’ll be ready to print off your first draft and embark on revisions. Then it’s time to learn some of the tricks of the publishing biz. Having just been threatened with legal action by his soon-to-be publisher for stalking said publisher’s son via Instagram, Sam knows a thing or two about that too. Are you ready to get serious about your writing?

  • The Economy of Sparrows

    The Economy of Sparrows


    A debut novel about the heartbreak of habitat loss and family trauma by one of Canada’s most beloved writer-naturalists.

    This debut novel by Trevor Herriot is the richly observed story of Nell Rowan, who has inherited her family’s prairie farmstead and returned there to live after many decades away. Nell is increasingly obsessed by a 19th-century bird collector while haunted by memories of her mother’s disappearance.

    Nell’s fascination with 19th-century bird collector William Spreadborough began during her janitorial night shifts at the National Museum of Nature. Now retired and back home on the same prairie where Spreadborough collected birds, her obsession with his life and death becomes more urgent. Though she finds consolation in the company of her border collie and horses, and the wild birds passing through each season, Nell feels increasingly isolated. Her neighbours seem indifferent to the ongoing devastation contemporary agriculture wreaks on prairie ecosystems and less than supportive of Nell’s attempts to track native bird populations. And now she is unable to escape the central mystery of her life: what happened to her mother in that long-ago snowstorm?

    Things begin to shift for Nell when she provides temporary shelter to Carmelita, a fifteen-year-old foster child whose fresh view of the world around her just might rescue Nell from the hopelessness she fears is her inheritance.

    Trevor Herriot’s The Economy of Sparrows connects today’s settler culture and natural science to their roots in colonial empire-building. As Nell Rowan finds the people who might help her come to some peaceful resolution of her life’s challenges, readers are faced with questions of how we engage with and value the natural world, how its truths illuminate both history and our present lives, and how we justify ourselves to the wild things of the earth.

  • The Emptiest Quarter

    The Emptiest Quarter


    The three novellas in The Emptiest Quarter find their inspiration in the sands and streets of Abu Dhabi, where author Raymond Beauchemin lived for four years, a time that overlapped with the building of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums and the opening of Sorbonne and NYU campuses, the convulsions of the Arab Spring and the eruption of civil war in Syria. The characters who populate The Emptiest Quarter live at both the centre and the fringes of the conflict between preservation and progress, including sheikhs, western oil-and-gas men, burned-out journalists, pearl divers, and Filipina caregivers, all striving to find themselves, to find love, to find balance in ever-shifting sands.