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2024 Spring Preview: Fiction

Over the course of three instalments, Q&Q presents the titles we’re most excited about this spring. This week’s instalment features novels and graphic novels. Short fiction and poetry will be featured next week, with nonfiction to be featured on Feb. 14. 

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2024. All information (titles, publication dates) was supplied by publishers. 

We Rip the World Apart
Charlene Carr
HarperCollins Publishers, Jan.

An unexpected pregnancy prompts Kareela, who is biracial, to come to terms with her family’s history. Charlene Carr’s multi-generational story tells of the lives of Black women who fled Jamaica during the 1980s, only to discover that life in Canada, especially for their men, held different dangers, and of a young woman who is grappling with her future. –Attila Berki

Fourteen Days
Margaret Atwood and Douglas Preston, eds.
Harper/HarperCollins, Feb.

Set during the lockdowns of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fourteen Days is a contemporary spin on the Decameron. Stuck in their Lower East Side apartment building, tenants gather on the roof each night to tell stories, and as the days go on, more and more neighbours gather to listen and share. Edited by Margaret Atwood, and including a surprising array of international writers from many genres, this group-written novel is sure to entertain. –Andrew Woodrow-Butcher

A Kingdom of Quartz 1
Kodansha/Penguin Random House Canada, Feb.

Rich world-building and mysterious intrigue propel this compelling debut from Canadian mangaka Bomhat. Originally published in Tokyo in Japanese, this English-language release is a Canadian manga success story, and part of the growing trend of “global manga” that’s expanding the appeal and reach of this already popular medium. –AWB

Alphabetical Diaries
Sheila Heti
Knopf Canada/PRHC, Feb.

If you reread a decade’s worth of your diaries, not in chronological order, but each sentence alphabetically from A to Z, what would you discover? Without the context of timelines and sequence, what patterns would emerge, which phrases, which obsessions or viewpoints would repeat? Governor General’s Literary Award–winner Heti did just that, and the self she discovered coalesced into a new, artful fiction, illuminating how we construct and anchor ourselves in our lives and worlds. –AWB

Followed by the Lark
Helen Humphreys
HarperCollins, Feb.

Humphreys’s new novel mirrors the 21st century’s tension between progress and environmental preservation through the life and concerns of the 19th-century naturalist, poet, and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau – inspired by his journals and writings. –AB

Batshit Seven
Penguin Canada, Feb.

Glen Wu has returned to Hong Kong to teach English, even as China tightens its grip on the city in a new form of colonialism. Governor General’s Literary Award–nominated Sheung-King weaves a colourful, inventive tale about a disaffected millennial struggling to understand the world and his own identity during a time of change. –AB

Sisters of the Spruce
Leslie Shimotakahara
Caitlin Press, Feb.

The Canada-Japan Literary Prize–winning author’s novel about female adventure and survival in northern B.C. is set against the logging operations in Haida Gwaii during the First World War. When the clash between the Japanese and Chinese workers and the newer white loggers humiliates young Kyha’s family, she undertakes a dangerous journey to help her sister. –AB

The War You Don’t Hate 
Blaise Ndala; Dimitri Nasrallah, trans.
Esplanade Books/Véhicule Press, March

The latest novel by the award-winning author (In the Belly of the Congo) to be translated into English won Quebec’s 2019 Combat des livres. It tells the story of a Canadian filmmaker whose lauded documentary about sex slavery brings her into the orbit of two former rebel soldiers from the Second Congo War who are seeking truth and revenge. –AB

The Hollow Beast
Christophe Bernard; Lazer Lederhendler, trans.
Biblioasis, April

A controversial goal at a 1911 hockey game in the Gaspé Peninsula leads to a family vendetta that spans more than three generations and 100 years, shaping the destinies of a small town and its inhabitants. With The Hollow Beast, translator Lazer Lederhendler brings Quebec author Christophe Bernard’s 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award–shortlisted novel to English readers. –Cassandra Drudi

Freddy Carrasco
Drawn & Quarterly, April

Originally published to much acclaim by indie press Peow, Tokyo-based Torontonian Freddy Carrasco’s award-winning collection of Afrofuturist vignettes receives a wide release from Drawn & Quarterly this spring. The interconnected pieces in GLEEM deploy bold line work and arresting character design while reflecting on contemporary realities and the possibilities to come. –AWB

Anne Fleming
Knopf Canada/PRHC, April

In this metafictional yarn about gender and truth, a contemporary historian discovers manuscripts describing Joan and Thomasina, two children who, along with a woman accused of witchcraft, are their village’s sole survivors of the plague. Soon separated, Joan stays close to their former home, while Thomasina becomes Tom and heads to America, only to return and reunite with Joan years later. As further accusations of witchcraft emerge, the pair flee northward, leaving the historian on a quest to find the end of their story. –AWB

Prairie Edge
Conor Kerr
Strange Light/PRHC April

In this sophomore novel from Giller-longlisted author Conor Kerr, two distant Métis cousins, Isidore “Ezzy” Desjarlais and Grey Ginther, hatch a plan to capture a herd of bison in a national park and then release the animals in downtown Edmonton, in a bid to disrupt the relentless churn of settler routine. But Grey’s laser focus on their protest ultimately endangers her, her cousin, and those close to them. –CD 

Anthony Oliveira
McClelland & Stewart/PRHC, April

Comic book writer, academic, and cultural critic Anthony Oliveira’s much-anticipated fiction debut blends prose and verse to examine the connections between love, grief, history, and the divine. Beginning with Christ’s most-beloved disciple, Dayspring’s narrative unfurls across eras and places, touching the preoccupations and desires that have shaped humanity from antiquity to the present. –AWB 

Kilworthy Tanner
Jean Marc Ah-Sen
Esplanade Books/Véhicule Press, May

Aspiring young author Jonno meets celebrated novelist Kilworthy Tanner, who – surprisingly – takes an interest in him. They move in together and start co-writing. But Jonno wonders who will get the credit for this work, and feels like he has to constantly fend off rival authors. Kilworthy Tanner is Jonno’s “pseudobiography” of their wild entanglement. –CD

The Head
Robyn Braun
Enfield & Wizenty/Great Plains Publications, May

One day, the head of an infant – bodiless but alive – appears in the home of a 30-year-old math professor. As the head wails and fusses, Dr. Trish Russo decides she’d better bring it to work with her. Her colleagues don’t seem surprised by the head itself, but they’re certain that bringing it to the workplace is deeply inappropriate, and Trish is put on leave. The Head is an exploration of strange and traumatic circumstances, and how others deal with us – or don’t – while we work through them. –AWB

Jillian Fleck
Conundrum Press, May

Cheryl is in her 40s, has just come out, and is jumping headfirst into her quest for actualization, wellness, and enlightenment. Known for their talent for wry, often absurd humour, Calgary-based cartoonist Fleck takes on the “New Age wellness industrial complex” through an awkwardly hilarious queer lens. –AWB

This Summer Will Be Different
Carley Fortune
Viking/PRHC, May

Journalist Carley Fortune has had a meteoric rise to bestsellerdom with two books over the last two years. Her new novel about friendship and an annual rekindling of passion is set against the idyll of P.E.I. summers. –AB

Bird Suit
Sydney Hegele
Invisible Publishing, May

Summers bring ripe peaches and a flock of tourists to Port Peter, a typical lakeside tourist town – aside from the bird women who live in a meadow beneath the lake and accept the babies that result from unplanned summer pregnancies. Georgia Jackson was not accepted by the bird women as an infant, and 20 years later she finds herself at the centre of a complicated web of friendship, grief, faith, and love with her mother’s ex, his wife, and their son. –CD

Behind You
Catherine Hernandez
Harper Avenue/HarperCollins, May

From the author of Scarborough comes the story of a Filipina film editor for a cheesy true-crime series who came of age as a serial rapist and killer stalked a Toronto suburb, and who is now dealing with her own son’s problematic behaviour. A look at rape culture, our complicity in the perpetuation of sexual violence, and female resilience. –AB

This Country Is No Longer Yours
Avik Jain Chatlani
Bond Street Books/PRHC, May

This debut fiction tells of the lives impacted by the terror campaign waged by the Maoist Shining Path in Peru between 1980 and 2000. Through multiple perspectives and voices, it examines the betrayal of humanity wrought by political ideology, opportunism, and the belief in violence as a tool for transformation. –AB

How It Works Out
Myriam Lacroix
Doubleday/PRHC, May

Girl meets girl, and their relationship could progress in any number of ways. Debut novelist Myriam Lacroix takes on these hypotheticals of love. What if the couple became famous? What if they became parents? What if one was an executive, the other her underling? Hilarious and sexy, the formal absurdity gives way to an earnest and surprising look at the parameters and perambulations of love. –AWB

Adrian Markle
Brindle & Glass/TouchWood Editions, May

Jamie, an injured and should-be-retired MMA fighter, returns to his coastal hometown six months after his father’s funeral and tries to reconnect with his older, alcoholic brother. This debut novel is about sport but also about family, homecomings, and growing up. –CD

I Met Death and Sex Through My Friend, Tom Meuley
Thom Vernon
Guernica Editions, May

Set during a 24-hour blizzard in Toronto, educator, actor, and writer Thom Vernon’s deeply dark comedy unspools a thread of often desperate characters: a suicidal teacher, one of the teacher’s students, the student’s friend, the friend’s mom. All of them are looking to escape something, or become something. –AWB

Pet, Pet, Slap
Andrew Battershill
Coach House Books, June

Giller-longlisted author Andrew Battershill returns with a novel about Pillow Wilson, a boxer past his prime who is training for one last shot at a title – and trying to rehome his exotic pets after turning vegan. The disappearance of his car and pet shark distract him from his training, and he turns to his appropriately named roommate, Sherlock Holmes, to help find them. –CD   

Rachel Cusk
Harper Perennial, June

In her 12th novel, acclaimed writer Rachel Cusk explores art, family, morality, and gender, and continues her work of reimagining the very form of the novel itself. –CD

Nauetakuan, a Silence for a Noise
Natasha Kanapé Fontaine; Howard Scott, trans.
Book*hug Press, June

An art exhibition in Montreal sets a young Innu woman, estranged from her roots, on a cross-continent journey to engage with Indigenous women and thinkers. She grows to understand that reconnecting to community and traditional teachings will transform Indigenous futures. –AB

The Lost Tarot
Sarah Henstra
Doubleday Canada/PRHC, June

Theresa Bateman, a struggling junior art historian, receives a tarot card in the mail. The card is the work of a celebrated artist, and its discovery would be a career breakthrough – only it can’t exist because it was one of many works destroyed in a fire that claimed the life of the artist and dozens of others. Theresa follows the trail of the lost tarot and uncovers the mysteries of the artist, Lark Ringold, his twin sister Nell, and their charismatic cult leader uncle. –CD

We Speak Through the Mountain
Premee Mohamed
ECW Press, June

In her follow-up to Aurora-winning novella The Annual Migration of Clouds, Premee Mohamed tells the story of Reid Graham, a 19-year-old who travels through Alberta’s climate-change-ravaged Rockies to reach Howse University, located in one of the domes that house the remnants of pre-collapse society. Reid has to make difficult choices as she realizes that this utopia is far from ideal: its citizens are hoarding resources from the rest of the world. –CD


Bury the Lead
Kate Hilton and Elizabeth Renzetti
Spiderline/House of Anansi Press, March

Novelists Kate Hilton and Elizabeth Renzetti team up for this first in the Quill & Packet series. Divorced and disgraced big-city journalist Cat Conway has a new job at a newspaper in cottage country. The murder of the legendary actor set to star in the theatre season’s opening play has the potential to help Cat resurrect her career, but she must contend with police suspicion and the murderer’s desire to kill the story as she tries to solve the mystery. –CD

Ocean Drive
Sam Wiebe
Harbour Publishing, April

In a standalone novel by the author of the Wakeland series, Staff Sgt. Meghan Quick is faced with gang violence set off by the murder of a college student in a small town along the Canada–U.S. border. Sam Wiebe is fast establishing himself as one of the best thriller writers in Canada. –AB

Lightning Strikes the Silence
Iona Whishaw
Brindle & Glass/TouchWood Editions, May

Iona Whishaw’s historical mysteries set in B.C.’s Kootenay region are reliable bestsellers. An explosion, a jewellery heist, and an injured Japanese girl who does not speak are part of a tale of old prejudices in the 11th book in Lane Winslow series. –AB

I Will Ruin You
Linwood Barclay
William Morrow/HarperCollins, May

In this latest from the internationally hailed thriller writer, an English teacher becomes a local hero when he averts a tragedy at his school, but quickly finds himself the target of an extortionist. –AB

By: Attila Berki; Cassandra Drudi; Andrew Woodrow-Butcher

January 31st, 2024

1:32 pm

Category: Industry News, Preview

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