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Fall preview 2012: crime & mystery, short stories, graphica, and poetry

The season of high-profile literary awards and author festivals is on its way, and there’s no shortage of new releases from marquee names. In the July/August issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the fall’s biggest books.


Louise Penny has already written seven titles in her Chief Inspector Gamache series, set in a fictional town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. In The Beautiful Mystery (Minotaur/Raincoast, $29.99 cl., Aug.), Gamache will likely encounter some difficulties when he investigates a murder in a cloistered religious community in which the monks have taken vows of silence.

CTV has signed on to adapt Giles Blunt‘s acclaimed John Cardinal series. The latest novel set in the remote Northern community of Algonquin Bay, Until the Night (Random House Canada, $29.95 cl.), appears in August.

One of the top crime writers in Canada is Toronto resident Peter Robinson. In the upcoming Detective Inspector Banks novel, the Yorkshire gumshoe finds himself investigating a cold case “ the disappearance of a woman in Estonia six years earlier “ in the hopes of uncovering clues in the murder of a fellow DI in England. Watching the Dark (M&S, $29.99 cl., Aug.), the first Banks novel following Robinson’s 2011 standalone effort, Before the Poison, ships in August.

Another U.K. transplant, Maureen Jennings, continues her trilogy set in England during the Second World War. Beware This Body (M&S, $24.99 pa., Nov.) is about Detective Inspector Tom Tyler’s investigation of an explosion at a munitions factory.Melanie Vincelette‘s Polynie (McArthur & Company, $18.95 pa.), about a lawyer whose body is discovered in the Iqaluit hotel room of a stripper, was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award when it appeared in French. An English-language version, translated by Sheila Fischman and Donald Winkler, appears in November.

Russell Quant is back in the latest novel from Anthony Bidulka. In Stain of the Berry (Insomniac Press, $19.95 pa., Oct.), the private detective is confronted by a pair of mysteries: the true cause of an apparent suicide and the whereabouts of a close friend.

Garry Ryan has won a Lambda Literary Award and a City of Calgary Freedom of Expression Award since publishing his first novel in 2004. With Blackbirds (NeWest Press, $19.95 pa., Oct.), the author begins a new series about a female pilot in wartime England. Alberta author Stephen Legault kicks off the Red Rock Canyon Mysteries series with The Slickrock Paradox (TouchWood Editions, $18.95 pa., Sept.), in which Silas Pearson, described as a deeply flawed antihero, goes in search of his wife, who disappeared in the American Southwest while involved in clandestine conservation work.


By now, readers know what to expect from a new Alice Munro collection: the appearance in The New Yorker of a smattering of stories, the critical adulation that follows the book’s release, the murmurs of the author’s perpetual dark horse status as a laureate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. What should not be overlooked is Munro’s ability to find new ways to surprise, move, and delight her fans. Munro’s 13th collection (her 14th, if you count the story cycle Lives of Girls and Women) is called Dear Life (Douglas Gibson Books/M&S, $32 cl., Oct.).

Emma Donoghue had a huge hit on her hands with Room, one of the most talked-about novels of 2010, which featured a gripping storyline seemingly taken from the headlines. The Irish-born author returns to the historical subjects that informed much of her prior work with Astray (HarperCollins Canada, $29.99 cl., Sept.), a sequence of stories about travel that takes place between the 17th to the 20th century.

It’s been seven years since Tamas Dobozy‘s well-regarded second collection, Last Notes and Other Stories. Returning to a familiar theme and milieu “ the Hungarian diaspora “ Siege 13 (Thomas Allen Publishers, $22.95 pa., Sept.) is a story cycle examining the immediate and long-term effects of the brutal siege of Budapest by the Red Army. One of the stories in the collection, The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kálmán Once Lived, was a winner of the 2011 O. Henry Prize.

It’s been four years since Calgary-based author Naomi K. Lewis published Cricket in a Fist, described in a Q&Q review as a stellar debut novel and an impressive first effort by an obviously talented writer. Lewis follows it up with I Know Who You Remind Me Of ($29.95 cl., Sept.), winner of Enfield & Wizenty’s Colophon Prize for Fiction, which includes stories about characters who bear the scars of growing up.

Nicole Dixon‘s stories have won the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, been nominated for the Journey Prize, and been published in journals including The New Quarterly, Grain, and The Fiddlehead. Her first collection, High-Water Mark (The Porcupine’s Quill, $18.95 pa., Oct.), includes stories about women pursuing romantic and professional desires.

Miranda Hill won last year’s Journey Prize for her first published story, Petitions to Saint Chronic, a tale included in the author’s debut collection, Sleeping Funny (Doubleday Canada, $29.95 cl., Sept.). ¢ How to Get Along with Women (Invisible Publishing, $16.95 pa., Oct.) may not be as helpful as its title suggests. The debut collection by Elisabeth de Mariaffi (a Q&Q reviewer) draws the reader into pivotal moments in which characters must face their true natures.

Richard Van Camp‘s Godless but Loyal to Heaven (Enfield & Wizenty, $29.95 cl., Sept.), the follow-up to 2009’s The Moon of Letting Go, promises a mix of genres including science fiction and horror, plus a blend of Western and native storytelling traditions. ¢ Noted playwright Anton Piatigorsky explores

the early lives of the 20th century’s most notorious tyrants in The Iron Bridge (Goose Lane, $19.95 pa., Sept.), which includes stories about the adolescence of Mao Tse-Tung, Idi Amin, Stalin, and Hitler. ¢ Bull Head (Arsenal Pulp Press, $15.95 pa., Sept.), Vancouver author John Vigna‘s first collection, includes stories about the gritty lives of rural male characters.

Poet Nadine McInnis‘s sophomore story collection comes more than a decade after its predecessor, Quicksilver. Blood Secrets (Biblioasis, $19.95 pa., Oct.) includes stories about endings: an affair that ends a marriage, a disease that ends a life, and the effect of a long-ago suicide. ¢ The linked stories in Julia Lin‘s Miah (TSAR Publications, $20.95 cl., Oct.), set in Taiwan and Canada, trace the effects of a century of the former’s occupation under Japan and mainland China. ¢ David Helwig‘s latest book is Simon Says (Oberon Press, $39.95 cl., $19.95 pa., Oct.), a collection written entirely in dialogue.


Vancouver’s Julie Morstad may be best known for her work with children’s authors such as JonArno Lawson and Caroline Woodward, but she is also an award-winning commercial illustrator and artist. The Wayside ($24.95 cl., Oct.), which contains poetic and heavily symbolic drawings that evoke Edward Gorey and Marcel Dzama, is her second book with Drawn & Quarterly. ¢ Also from D&Q, Susceptible ($19.95 cl., Nov.) is Geneviève Castrée‘s semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in 1980s and ’90s Quebec as the child of a single mother.

The dark and twisted world of Nina Bunjevac is on full display in the artist’s first collection, Heartless (Conundrum, $20 cl., Sept.), which has all the ingredients of an underground comics classic, including a drawing style reminiscent of R. Crumb.


Jeanette Lynes earned acclaim for her first novel, 2009’s Giller-longlisted The Factory Voice, but she may be better known as a poet. Her sixth collection, Archive of the Undressed (Wolsak & Wynn, $17 pa., Sept.), is a darkly comic take on the representation of women during a period of changing sexual mores.

Coach House promises that Jonathan Ball’s third collection, The Politics of Knives ($17.95 pa., Sept.), will establish the Winnipeg-based poet as the Stephen King of verse, with a dash of Lisa Robertson and David Lynch thrown in. ¢ Max Layton is a singer-songwriter, a former bookseller and publisher, and the son of Irving Layton. His first collection, When the Rapture Comes (Guernica, $15 pa., Nov.), offers a sometimes satirical look at life after apocalypse.

Rhea Tregebov‘s All Souls’ (Signal Editions, $18 pa., Sept.) takes as its themes a broad range of personal and societal crises, from divorce to aging parents to global warming to financial collapse. ¢ If cows could talk, what would they say? Robert Moore may have some of the answers in his fourth collection, described as a litany of aphorisms, maxims, and injunctions laying bare the mysteries of bovine consciousness. The Golden Book of Bovinities (Signal Editions, $18.95 pa., Oct.) includes illustrations by Montreal’s Chris Lloyd.

Susan Gillis‘s first collection since 2002’s Volta (winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation A.M. Klein Prize) contains sections about various Montreal landmarks. The Rapids (Brick Books, $19 pa.) appears in September. ¢ Eco-poet Maureen Scott Harris won the 2004 Trillium Book Award for Drowning Lessons. She returns with Slow Curve Out (Pedlar, $20 pa., Sept.), which asks, What does it mean to be human? ¢ Sandra Kasturi‘s second collection, Come Late to the Love of Birds (Tightrope, Nov.) expands on the poet’s favoured themes of abject romance and deformed fairytales.

David Solway continues with his series of translations of the works of fictional poets. Habibi (Guernica, $15 pa., Oct.) is purported to be a volume of love poems by a Moroccan versifier named Alim Maghrebi. ¢ Also in October, Libros Libertad will publish an actual volume of poetry in translation. George Seferis ($25 pa.), translated from the Greek by Manolis, is a collection by the titular poet, a Greek diplomat born in Smyrna in 1900.

A number of houses are trumpeting the work of promising young poets set to make their debuts this fall. Among them is Jessica Moore, whose Everything, Now (Brick Books, $19 pa., Aug.) is the author’s attempt to articulate her sense of loss after the death of a lover in a bike accident. ¢ Another debut, Stewart Cole‘s Questions in Bed (Goose Lane, $24.95 pa., Oct.), is described as a reminder that we live in an age of anxiety.

This September sees the release of a new volume of selected poems from Victoria’s John Barton, editor of The Malahat Review. For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin (Nightwood Editions, $19.95 pa.) draws from nine collections published over 30 years. ¢ The latest volume in The Porcupine’s Quill‘s Essential

Poets series is The Essential Tom Marshall ($14.95 pa., Sept.), which contains poems selected by the late poet’s friends David Helwig and Michael Ondaatje. ¢ Cormorant is set to release a new edition of a seminal work by Margaret Atwood. The Illustrated Journals of Susanna Moodie ($45 cl., Nov.) includes illustrations by Charles Pachter.

Q&Q‘s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. ¢ All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. ¢ Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.