For the first time since it launched seven years ago, the top three books on Indigo’s Best Books of 2019 list are written by Canadians. The top 50, released Oct. 25, names Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild, Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, and Jesse Thistle’s From the Ashes as the best books of the year, as chosen by Indigo’s booksellers.
The program has named a Canadian book as the top choice of the year twice before: Zoe Whittal’s novel The Best Kind of People in 2016 and Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook in 2014.
According to a release from Indigo, Dimaline called the news, “the best moment of my writing career.” The bestselling author of YA novel The Marrow Thieves’s new adult novel is about a woman whose husband vanishes, but whose doppelgänger returns as a reverend in a travelling Christian revival. Dimaline uses traditional Métis rogaru lore – tales of a wolflike creature – to build her supernatural thriller.
Atwood’s The Testaments, the sequel to dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale, has topped bestseller lists since it was released in September. It shared the Booker Prize with U.K. writer Bernardine Evaristo for her novel Girl, Woman, Other.
Thistle’s From the Ashes is his first book. It is a memoir of being taken into foster care as a child and his experience with precarious housing and drug addiction before he turned his life around to become an influential speaker and academic.
Other books in the top 10 include Lisa Taddeo’s study of sexuality, Three Women, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s story of the fictional band Daisy Jones & The Six, and The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead’s novel set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow American South. The full list of 50 books is available on Indigo’s website.