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Explore a wide range of Bookville fiction picks: from humorous, beach-ready reads to serious dramas to award-winners, there’s something for every type of reader in this collection of fiction books.
Showing 1–20 of 32 results
It’s late spring and young artist Gerry Coneybear and her twenty cats are thrilled to finally be able to spend time in the garden surrounding her 200-year-old house on the Ottawa River. But Gerry is having difficulty keeping her curious cats safe from her new neighbours’ large dog. The couple’s? marriage appears a bit fraught, and when the philandering husband is murdered, the wife is the obvious suspect. Or ought to be. As events unfold next door, Gerry watches from her garden, where she picks rhubarb, weeds, and plants her flowers, catnip and herbs, all supervised by her cats and her friend and part-time housekeeper Prudence. A terrible car crash, an eccentric train engineer (and his equally eccentric wife), and a midnight visit to the house next door all contribute to this cozy mystery coming out all right in the end. And there’s jam-making. And ghosts.
Finalist for the 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Winner of the 2022 Indigenous Voices Awards’ Published Prose in English Prize
Shortlisted for the 2022 Amazon Canada First Novel Award
Longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2022
Longlisted for First Nations Community Reads 2022
An Indigo Top 100 Book of 2021
An Indigo Top 10 Best Canadian Fiction Book of 2021
“What a welcome debut. Young Eddie Toma’s passage through the truly ugly parts of this world is met, like an antidote, or perhaps a compensation, by his remarkable awareness of its beauty. This is a writer who understands youth, and how to tell a story.” —Gil Adamson, winner of the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Ridgerunner
Brian Isaac’s powerful debut novel All the Quiet Places is the coming-of-age story of Eddie Toma, an Indigenous (Syilx) boy, told through the young narrator’s wide-eyed observations of the world around him.
It’s 1956, and six-year-old Eddie Toma lives with his mother, Grace, and his little brother, Lewis, near the Salmon River on the far edge of the Okanagan Indian Reserve in the British Columbia Southern Interior. Grace, her friend Isabel, Isabel’s husband Ray, and his nephew Gregory cross the border to work as summer farm labourers in Washington state. There Eddie is free to spend long days with Gregory exploring the farm: climbing a hill to watch the sunset and listening to the wind in the grass. The boys learn from Ray’s funny and dark stories. But when tragedy strikes, Eddie returns home grief-stricken, confused, and lonely.
Eddie’s life is governed by the decisions of the adults around him. Grace is determined to have him learn the ways of the white world by sending him to school in the small community of Falkland. On Eddie”s first day of school, as he crosses the reserve boundary at the Salmon River bridge, he leaves behind his world. Grace challenges the Indian Agent and writes futile letters to Ottawa to protest the sparse resources in their community. His father returns to the family after years away only to bring chaos and instability. Isabel and Ray join them in an overcrowded house. Only in his grandmother’s company does he find solace and true companionship.
In his teens, Eddie’s future seems more secure—he finds a job, and his long-time crush on his white neighbour Eva is finally reciprocated. But every time things look up, circumstances beyond his control crash down around him. The cumulative effects of guilt, grief, and despair threaten everything Eddie has ever known or loved.
All the Quiet Places is the story of what can happen when every adult in a person’s life has been affected by colonialism; it tells of the acute separation from culture that can occur even at home in a loved familiar landscape. Its narrative power relies on the unguarded, unsentimental witness provided by Eddie.
Away From Her meets Strangers on a Train in this follow-up to cult bestseller And the Birds Rained Down
After And The Birds Rained Down, a stunning meditation on aging and freedom, Jocelyne Saucier is back with her unique outlook on self-determination in this unsettling story about a woman’s disappearance.
Gladys might look old and frail, but she is determined to finish her life on her own terms. And so, one September morning, she leaves Swastika, her home of the past fifty years, and hops on the Northlander train, eager to put thousands of miles of northern Quebec between her and the improbably named village, and leaving behind her perennially tormented daughter, Lisana.
Our mysterious narrator, who is documenting these disappearing northern trains, is eager to uncover the truth of Gladys’s voyage, tracking down fellow passengers and train employees for years to learn what happened to Gladys and her daughter, and why.
With this special 20th Anniversary edition, Richard Van Camp re-releases his first bestselling collection of short stories. There is pain in these stories and there is loss. There is death, but there is also rebirth, and there is always the search from each of the narrators for personal truth. This collection of hilarious and profound stories is where beloved recurring characters Torchy, Sfen, Snowbird, Clarence and Brutus first appeared. Larry Sole from The Lesser Blessed>/i> also appears in this collection, alongside many other characters, all of them linked by themes of hope, the spirit of friendship, and hunger.
Richard has gone on to publish four other short story collections, but Angel Wing Splash Pattern is where his love of the short story–“those perfect universes”–all began. This beautifully redesigned 20th anniversary edition, with a new introduction by the author and two new graphic-novel style stories, proves once again that Richard Van Camp is a master of the short story.
A GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOK OF 2022
AS FEATURED IN TORONTO STAR, ZOOMER MAGAZINE, AND ON CBC’S ONTARIO MORNING AND GLOBAL TV
For readers who love Mark Haddon, Miriam Toews, and Sally Rooney
Paisley Ratchford is trying to keep it together, but in eight weeks, the Toronto apartment building she lives in will be demolished. A last-ditch effort to reclaim her abandoned childhood home on Amherst Island plunges Paisley into memories of growing up in the tight-knit community, and into the obsessive compulsive disorder that has only ever offered a semblance of control. Her compulsion to count in sets of eight had little effect on thwarting bullies, her father’s bad luck, and her mother’s mental illness—all of which return to haunt her.
When help arrives in the form of Paisley’s old classmate and tormentor Garnet Mulligan, her predicament only worsens. For a shot at a future, Paisley needs to stare down her past, including all the habits that have stopped her from thriving. At Last Count is a wise and often laugh-out-loud funny tale that proves we don’t always need to believe everything our brain tells us.
In an unnamed town in the summer of 1998, Judy is an isolated and inexperienced teenager on the cusp of adulthood struggling to craft an identity for herself—especially as the artist she wants to be.
There is little help around her. Her only friends are increasingly obsessed with a cultish belief in a coming “Big Shadow.” Her mother is afraid of life and finds solace in TV shows. At her lowest point, Judy meets Maurice Blunt, a visiting summer poetry class professor who is a “has-been” fixture of the 1970s NYC punk music scene. Judy believes Maurice—a man more than twice her age desperately seeking lost adoration—is the ticket out of her current life. Soon, she begins taking secret weekend trips to visit him.
Judy’s visits to his apartment in New York bring hopes of belonging to the city’s cultural world and making a living as a video artist. With each trip and frustrated promise, however, she feels the creeping realization that there is a price to pay for her golden ticket entry into this insular and moribund scene. Judy must navigate the shifting power dynamics with her aging gatekeeper and the possibility of building an early adult identity alone.
An affecting novel of psychological nuance and dark humour, Big Shadow explores the costs of self-deceit, fandom, and tenuous ambitions, exposing the lies we’ll tell ourselves and the promises we’ll make to edge closer to what we want… or what we think we want.
Body Trade follows Rosie and Tanya, two young Canadian women who decide to leave the Northwest Territories and head south on an ill-conceived road trip through California, Mexico and Central America. The story takes a life-defining twist when their search for freedom and adventure brings them into contact with predators of the Central American sex trafficking trade.
Winner of the 2023 Crime Writers of Canada Award for Best Crime First Novel
“Sam Shelstad has a funny, lively, engaging, peculiar mind—charming and surprising.” —Sheila Heti, bestselling author of Motherhood and Pure Colour
This debut novel set in southern Ontario captures call-centre life, faded tourist attractions, and suburbia with oddball wit and sharp realism.
Colleen Weagle works in a call centre and lives in a bungalow with her mother in a quiet Toronto suburb. In her spare time she writes spec scripts for a CBC riding-school drama (her mother’s favourite) and plays an online game set in a resort populated by reindeer. It’s a typical life. Except three months ago Colleen’s husband Leonard—who led a similarly monotonous life—was found in a bog in the middle of the night, a two hours’ drive from home. Dead.
With a flatly optimistic belief in the power of routine, Colleen has been soldiering on, trying not to think too hard about all the unknowns surrounding the death. But when a local news photo twigs Colleen’s memory of a mystery attendee at Leonard’s funeral she snaps into action.
In the maddening company of her ornery co-worker Patti, she heads to Niagara Falls on a quest to find the truth behind the death. Amid the slot machines and grubby hotels, the pair stumble into the darker underworld of a faded tourist trap. What they find will lead straight to an episode from Colleen’s adolescence she thought she’d put firmly behind her.
Bleakly madcap, with deadpan dialogue, Shelstad’s debut novel is a noir anti-thriller reminiscent of Twin Peaks and the work of Ottessa Moshfegh and early Kate Atkinson. He captures call-centre life, ramshackle tourist attractions, and suburbia with wit and sharp realism, and reveals the undercurrents of melancholy and the truly bizarre that can run beneath even the most seemingly mild-mannered lives.
From Leacock finalist Ali Bryan, a witty and immensely fun dramedy about a family’s memorial trip to the City of Love, where chaos ensues at every turn.
It’s been ten years since Claudia’s mother died after a tragic collision with a banana boat. Her kids are now teenagers, her brother’s wife has left him, and her ex has had a spiritual awakening that has him hinting at reconciliation—all things she can handle.
But when her septuagenarian father decides to remarry after a brief courtship with a woman who is decidedly different than their mother, the entire family is thrown off course, and plans a long overdue memorial trip to the only place their mother ever dreamed of going: Paris. However, minutes after take-off, the trip takes an unpredictable turn and sets off a chain of events that threatens to derail the closure the family desperately seeks.
Chance meetings, poolside confessions, run-ins with mimes, climate protests, and a man with a death wish force Claudia to reconsider everything she thought she knew about love, both the familial and the romantic, the tragic and the sublime. How well do we really know those closest to us? And how well do we really know ourselves?
In this follow-up to her award-winning novel Roost, Ali Bryan explores thorny family dynamics with her trademark offbeat humour and insight. Coq is a darkly comedic contemporary family drama that explores grief, identity, and second chances in the one-and-only City of Love.
Growing up in a small, riverside town, Little Bright is thrusted into the political whirlwinds along with his family during China’s Cultural Revolution. When a reversal of the winds of reform blows through the land, however, he learns the once-forbidden tongue—English—which lends wings to his sense and sensibility. At college, he adopts a new English name, Victor. With the deepening of his knowledge of the English language, he begins to place himself under the tutelage of Pavlov, Sherlock Holmes, and Shakespeare.
When the story unravels, however, Victor’s un-Chinese passion and tension threaten to topple his moral world and mental universe. Now, he must wade into an uncharted journey to unlock the dilemma and to unearth his destiny.
Drawing on his own life experiences, George Lee has fashioned an unforgettable coming-of-age story about fate and faith, good and evil, power of imagination and storytelling, and, above all, wonder of English literature.
It is 1997 and Noah Lamarck’s life is a mess. Laid off work as a librarian, with his estranged wife and child in need of money, and the trauma of his father’s mysterious suicide unresolved, he struggles to find a way forward. A persevering man, but running out of options, Noah is thrown an unexpected lifeline: when long lost evidence of Shakespeare’s life is uncovered, an eccentric bibliophile hires Noah and his friend, graduate student Cecelia Lines, to investigate.
But the more they delve into the playwright’s life, the more they are drawn into each other’s; and despite their growing feelings for one another, their divided loyalties leave them increasingly at odds, and vulnerable to the manipulations of their employer. So unfolds a drama of love, sex, family tensions, financial burdens, obsessions, and devious manipulations which Noah and Cecelia, like players in a Shakespearean romance of star-crossed lovers, must navigate to save not only themselves, but Noah’s family from ruin.
Set in places as varied as the seacoast of Cape Breton, the streets of Toronto, and Shakespeare’s London, in Full Fadom Five the past is always present, and the characters always at the mercy of their legacies: those they carry forward, and those they try to leave behind.
An act of passion reverberates across continents when Visma Sen decides to remain in Calcutta when his family migrates to Canada.
Hands Like Trees, is Arundhati Roy as if written in the mode of Alice Munro. – George Elliott Clarke, author of Where Beauty Survived: An Africadian Memoir
Sabyasachi Nag evokes the rising heat of Calcutta in the early morning as masterfully as he depicts the calmness of a snow-lit evening street in Brampton, Ontario while the entangled lives of the Sens of Shulut unfurl over three decades. Each linked story is told through the voice of a different member of the Sen family, from Nilroy’s movingly excruciating first day as caregiver to Aunt Rita with dementia to Milli’s ambition to host her guru Mata G. The experiences of each character draw a portrait of the Sen family, whose wounds drive them to pursue an ever-elusive happiness, while clearly yearning for identity and belonging.
A vivid love letter to the 1980s and one woman’s struggle to overcome the challenges of immigration.
It’s 1986, and Muna Heddad is in a bind. She and her son have moved to Montreal, leaving behind a civil war filled with bad memories in Lebanon. She had plans to find work as a French teacher, but no one in Quebec trusts her to teach the language. She needs to start making money, and fast. The only work Muna can find is at a weight-loss center as a hotline operator.
All day, she takes calls from people responding to ads seen in magazines or on TV. On the phone, she’s Mona, and she’s quite good at listening. These strangers all have so much to say once someone shows interest in their lives-marriages gone bad, parents dying, isolation, personal inadequacies. Even as her daily life in Canada is filled with invisible barriers at every turn, at the office Muna is privy to her clients’ deepest secrets.
Following international acclaim for Niko (2011) and The Bleeds (2018), Dimitri Nasrallah has written a vivid elegy to the 1980s, the years he first moved to Canada, bringing the era’s systemic challenges into the current moment through this deeply endearing portrait of struggle, perseverance, and bonding.
Longlisted for the 2023 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction
A riveting exploration of the complexity within mother-daughter relationships and the dynamic vitality of Vancouver’s former Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood.
1930s, Hogan’s Alley—a thriving Black and immigrant community located in Vancouver’s East End. Junie is a creative, observant child who moves to the alley with her mother, Maddie: a jazz singer with a growing alcohol dependency. Junie quickly makes meaningful relationships with two mentors and a girl her own age, Estelle, whose resilient and entrepreneurial mother is grappling with white scrutiny and the fact that she never really wanted a child.
As Junie finds adulthood, exploring her artistic talents and burgeoning sexuality, her mother sinks further into the bottle while the thriving neighbourhood—once gushing with potential—begins to change. As her world opens, Junie intuits the opposite for the community she loves.
Told through the fascinating lens of a bright woman in an oft-disquieting world, this book is intimate and urgent—not just an unflinching look at the destruction of a vibrant community, but a celebration of the Black lives within.
WINNER OF THE 26TH ANNUAL DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOKS OF 2022
THE GLOBE 100: THE BEST BOOKS OF 2022
CBC BOOKS: THE BEST CANADIAN FICTION OF 2022
Featured on CBC’s The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers
TIME MAGAZINE’S 10 BEST FICTION BOOKS OF 2022
LITHUB BEST REVIEWED SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS 2022
LITHUB BEST REVIEWED SCI-FI, FANTASY AND HORROR OF 2022
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE
The debut collection from PEN/Hemingway Award finalist and ‘propulsive storyteller’ (NYT Book Review), with stories that are by turns poignant and pulpy
In the twelve unforgettable tales of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steal a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time; an insomniac is seduced by the Sandman. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, as they unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.
“Fu joins recent maestros Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black, 2018), Charles Yu (Sorry Please Thank You, 2012), and Seong-nan Ha (Bluebeard’s First Wife, 2020) in creating irrefutably fantastic fiction.” – Booklist, starred review
“Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is one of those rare collections that never suffers from which-one-was-that-again? syndrome. Every story here lights a flame in the memory, shining brighter as time goes by rather than dimming. Kim Fu writes with grace, wit, mischief, daring, and her own deep weird phosphorescent understanding.” – Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories
“When a collection is evocative of authors as disparate as Ray Bradbury and Stephanie Vaughn, the only possible unifier can be originality: and that’s what a reader finds in Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century. The strangest of concepts are tempered by grounded, funny dialogue in these stories, which churn with big ideas and craftily controlled antic energy.” – Naben Ruthnum, author of A Hero of Our Time
“How I loved the cool wit of these speculative stories! Filled with wonder and wondering, they’re haunted too by loss and loneliness, their imaginative reach profoundly rooted in the human condition.” – Peter Ho Davies, author of A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself
“Precise, elegant, uncanny, and mesmerizing–each story in this collection is a crystalline gem. Kim Fu’s talent is singularly inventive, her every sentence a surprise and an adventure.” – Danya Kukafka, author of Notes on an Execution
“Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is for the adventurous reader–someone willing to walk into a story primed for cultural critique and suddenly come across a plot for murder, or to consider the dangers of sea monsters alongside those posed by twenty-first-century ennui. Each story is spectacularly smart, hybrid in genre, and bold with intention. The monsters here are not only fantastical figures brought to life in hyper-reality but also the strangest parts of the human heart. This book is as moving as it is monumental.” – Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised
“Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century crushes the coal-dark zeitgeist between its teeth and spits out diamonds, beautiful but razor-sharp. This will be one of the best short story collections of the year.” – Indra Das, author of The Devourers
Winner of BEST CRIME NOVELLA at The Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence 2022
Set in Toronto 1970, just as the FLQ crisis emerges to shake an innocent country, eleven year old Johnny Wong uncovers an underbelly to his tight, downtown neighbourhood. He shares a room with his Chinese immigrant mother in an enclave with American draft dodgers and new Canadians. He is befriended by Rollie, one of the draft dodgers who takes on a fatherly and writing mentor role. Johnny’s mother is threatened by the “children’s warfare society.” A neighbour is found murdered. He suspects the feline loving Catwoman next door and tries to break into her house. Ultimately he is betrayed but he must act to save his family. He discovers a distant kinship with Jean, the son of one of the hostages kidnapped by the FLQ who have sent Canada into a crisis. As his world spins out of control, his only solace are letters to Dave Keon, who “as Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, can be trusted.”
From the moment she holds her baby niece, Rose is on a mission. Terrified that her baby niece will fall victim to the sexual abuse rampant in the family, Rose tells us in her own warm, funny, down-to-earth voice, how she reluctantly agrees to join a therapy group, hoping she can find out how to prevent disaster and see that baby Jenny grows up unharmed. In the group, she meets new friends who will become like family: Josie, who “sees” the future; Tammy, with a suspicious bruise on her neck; good and steady Marg, whose father is threatening to burn down her apartment house; and sweet, grieving, spiritual Sally. Rose’s own chronic problem, she confesses, is picking wrong men. Josie finds a small magazine picture of a little town in northern Ontario. She sees, with her second sight, a resort hotel to be built in this town and a sunnier life for the group. As they begin to take the first painful steps of emotional recovery, an intense fantasy about this unknown town and dream hotel becomes the secret life of the group. Deep friendships evolve as the women help one another through the roller coasters of their recovery process. Despite setbacks, they cling to their dream of moving up north and running their own hotel.
A widow visits a spiritualist community to attempt to contact her late husband. A grieving teenager confronts the unfairness of his small-town world and the oncoming ecological disaster. A sexual assault survivor navigates her boyfriend’s tricky family and her own confusing desires. A mother examines unresolved guilt while seeking her missing daughter in a city slum. A lover exploits his girlfriend’s secrets for his own purposes. Whether in Ecuador or San Francisco, rural Ontario or northern Manitoba, the landscape in each of Carter’s poignant short stories reflects each character’s journey.
Psychologically complex and astute, Places Like These plumbs the vast range of human reactions to those things which make us human—love, grief, friendship, betrayal, and the intertwined yet contrasting longing for connection and independence.
Coping with the death of her cousin, Mei abandons her life in the city to live in his now empty house in a small town. There she connects with his history as well as her own, learns about her aunt’s long-term secret relationship, and reflects on the trans women she has left behind.
Small Beauty explores the protagonist’s transness, but it also tenderly yet bitterly unpacks her experiences as a mixed-race person of Chinese descent, cycles of death and loss, and queer and intergenerational community. Small Beauty wanders through isolation, and then breaks it.
Louis Riel arrives at Batoche in 1884 to help the Métis fight for their lands and discovers that the rebellious outsider Josette Lavoie is a granddaughter of the famous chief Big Bear, whom he needs as an ally. But Josette learns of Riel’s hidden agenda – to establish a separate state with his new church at its head – and refuses to help him. Only when the great Gabriel Dumont promises her that he will not let Riel fail does she agree to join the cause. In this raw wilderness on the brink of change, the lives of seven unforgettable characters converge, each one with secrets: Louis Riel and his tortured wife Marguerite; a duplicitous Catholic priest; Gabriel Dumont and his dying wife Madeleine; a Hudson’s Bay Company spy; and the enigmatic Josette Lavoie. As the Dominion Army marches on Batoche, Josette and Gabriel must manage Riel’s escalating religious fanaticism and a growing attraction to each other. Song of Batoche is a timeless story that traces the borderlines of faith and reason, obsession and madness, betrayal and love.
“This passionate retelling uses women’s eyes to reveal the hidden history behind Riel and Gabriel Dumont. Deeply researched, and rooted in the soil of Batoche.” – Marina Endicott, author of the Giller-nominated Close to Hugh
“Combining fine research and engaging storytelling, Song of Batoche is a stirring fictionalized account of events in and around the 1885 North-West Resistance. Josette Lavoie is an intriguing and memorable heroine.” – Katherena Vermette, author of the The Break and winner of the Governor General’s Award