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Ten Great Books set in CANADA

16th December 2021

Canada is the latest destination in our ‘Great Books…’ series. Ten great books set in Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world. It borders the United States to the south, and the US state of Alaska to the north-west. It is also next to the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Canada’s hugely varied geography includes mountain ranges, highland plateaus with thousands of lakes and rivers, lowlands, plains and prairies. The Arctic region of the country has hundreds of islands.

‘I’m on my way to the Beer Store to pick up a two-four’ ‘I’m off to the store to pick up a 24 pack of beer – Canadian saying

Ten Great Books set in CANADASweetland by Michael Crummey

The scarcely populated town of Sweetland rests on the shore of a remote Canadian island. Its slow decline finally reaches a head when the mainland government offers each islander a generous resettlement package the sole stipulation being that everyone must leave. Fierce and enigmatic Moses Sweetland, whose ancestors founded the village, is the only one to refuse. As he watches his neighbours abandon the island, he recalls the town’s rugged history and its eccentric cast of characters. Evoking The Shipping News, Michael Crummey one of Canada s finest novelists conjures up the mythical, sublime world of Sweetland’s past amid a stormbattered landscape haunted by local lore. As in his critically acclaimed novel Galore, Crummey masterfully weaves together past and present, creating in Sweetland a spectacular portrait of one man’s battle to survive as his environment vanishes around him.

The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a rare female in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep.

Exquisitely written, with Bouchard’s trademark lyrical prose, The Coral Bride evokes the power of the sea on the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

Black Rock by John McFetridge

An artfully told police procedural set in an explosive era in recent history Montreal 1970. The “Vampire Killer” has murdered three women and a fourth is missing. Bombs explode in the stock exchange, McGill University, and houses in Westmount. Riots break out at the St. Jean Baptiste parade and at Sir George Williams University. James Cross and Pierre Laporte are kidnapped and the Canadian army moves onto the streets of Montreal. A young beat cop working out of Station Ten finds himself almost alone hunting the serial killer, as the rest of the force focuses on the FLQ crisis. Constable Eddie Dougherty, the son of a French mother and an Irish – Canadian father, decides to take matters into his own hands to catch the killer before he strikes again. Set against actual historical events, Black Rock is both a compelling page – turner and an accomplished novel in the style of Dennis Lehane.

Ten Great Books set in CANADAA Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

Clara’s sister is missing. Angry, rebellious Rose had a row with their mother, stormed out of the house and simply disappeared. Seven-year-old Clara, isolated by her distraught parents’ efforts to protect her from the truth, is grief-stricken and bewildered.

Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, moves into the house next door, a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember, and within hours gets a visit from the police. It seems he’s suspected of a crime.

At the end of her life Elizabeth Orchard is thinking about a crime too, one committed thirty years ago that had tragic consequences for two families and in particular for one small child. She desperately wants to make amends before she dies.

Set in Northern Ontario in 1972, A Town Called Solace explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. By turns gripping and darkly funny, it uncovers the layers of grief and remorse and love that connect us, but shows that sometimes a new life is possible.

Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg

A talk-show host confesses to the brutal murder of his young wife. The evidence is cast iron. But when a determined detective, an ambitious rookie prosecutor and a defence lawyer keen to make her mark piece together the details of the case, nothing fits. An intricately plotted web of lies, half-truths and hidden motives emerges – along with a secret no one could have suspected.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx’s highly acclaimed, international bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Quoyle is a hapless, hopeless hack journalist living and working in New York. When his no-good wife is killed in a spectacular road accident, Quoyle heads for the land of his forefathers — the remotest corner of far-flung Newfoundland. With ‘the aunt’ and his delinquent daughters — Bunny and Sunshine — in tow, Quoyle finds himself part of an unfolding, exhilarating Atlantic drama. ‘The Shipping News’ is an irresistible comedy of human life and possibility.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

AYESHA SHAMSI has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been overtaken by a demanding teaching job. Her boisterous Muslim family, and numerous (interfering) aunties, are professional naggers. And her flighty young cousin, about to reject her one hundredth marriage proposal, is a constant reminder that Ayesha is still single.

Ayesha might be a little lonely, but the one thing she doesn’t want is an arranged marriage. And then she meets Khalid… How could a man so conservative and judgmental (and, yes, smart and annoyingly handsome) have wormed his way into her thoughts so quickly?

As for Khalid, he’s happy the way he is; his mother will find him a suitable bride. But why can’t he get the captivating, outspoken Ayesha out of his mind? They’re far too different to be a good match, surely…

Ten Great Books set in CANADADead Cold by Louise Penny

Winter in Three Pines, and the sleepy village is carpeted in snow. It’s a time of peace and goodwill – until a scream pierces the biting air. A spectator at the annual Boxing Day curling match has been fatally electrocuted. Despite the large crowd, there are no witnesses and – apparently – no clues.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache discovers a history of secrets and enemies in the dead woman’s past. But he has enemies of his own, and as he is frozen out of decision-making in the Surete du Quebec, he has to decide who he can trust…

Entry Island by Peter May

When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.

Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role. Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession. And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professonal duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.

Fauna by Alissa York

The wide ravine that bisects the city is home to countless species of urban wildlife, including human waifs and strays. When Edal Jones can’t cope with the casual cruelty she encounters in her job as a federal wildlife officer, she finds herself drawn to a beacon of solace nestled in the valley under the unlikely banner of an auto-wrecker’s yard. Guy Howell, the handsome proprietor, offers sanctuary to animals and people alike: a half-starved hawk and a brood of orphaned raccoon kits, a young soldier whose spirit failed him during his first tour of duty, a teenage runaway and her massive black dog. Guy is well versed in the delicate workings of damaged beings, and he might just stand a chance at mending Edal’s heart.

But before love can bloom, the little community must come to terms with a different breed of lost soul – a young man whose brutal backwoods childhood is catching up with him, causing him to persecute the creatures that call the valley home.

We hope you enjoy our selection of ten great books set in Canada. If we have missed any of your favourites, please add them in the Comments below!

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