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2015 fiction fall preview

George Bowering fall preview 2015

Two sides of George Bowering

One of Canada’s key postmodernists, co-founder of the influential literary journal TISH, Canada’s inaugural Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Governor General’s Literary Award winner, novelist, critic, historian, editor: there is very little George Bowering hasn’t accomplished in his long and lauded career. And at 80 years of age, he shows no signs of stopping, or even slowing down. This fall, the prolific B.C. author has a pair of titles on tap:

First up… a collection of stories called 10 Women (Anvil Press). These stories, which run the gamut from lascivious faux-pulp fantasies to the petit bourgeois housewives of Alice Munro, each focus on a woman with whom the author may (or may not) have had a relationship. (That rumble you hear is a thousand irate Twitter users booting up their computers …)

Next is… Writing the Okanagan (Talonbooks), an anthology of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from across the author’s career, and focused on B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, an area that has been essential to Bowering’s life and work for the past five decades.

This is what a feminist looks like?

Screen shot 2015-06-23 at 1.58.17 PMTwo-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis returns with what may be his riskiest novel yet. Poles Apart (M&S) tells the story of a feminist blog called Eve of Everything that rockets to Internet fame based on its attacks against gender imbalances in education, campus sexual assault, and the scourge of online pornography. The only problem? The blog is secretly written by a dude.


Genre All-Stars

1. The Nature of the Beast (Minotaur/Raincoast) by Louise Penny
2. The Hesitation Cut (Random House Canada) by Giles Blunt
3. Speaking in Bones (Simon & Schuster Canada) by Kathy Reichs
4. No Cure for Love (M&S) by Peter Robinson
5. The Princeling of Nanjing (House of Anansi Press) by Ian Hamilton
6. Over the River (Cormorant Books) by Howard Engel


Heavy hitters

Shilpi Somaya Gowda fall preview 2015Shilpi Somaya Gowda had a monster hit with her debut novel, 2010’s Secret Daughter. Like its predecessor, The Golden Son (HarperCollins Canada) divides its narrative between India and the U.S., focusing on childhood friends who rekindle their relationship as adults.

Don Gillmor fall preview 2015Q&Q reviewer James Grainger called Mount Pleasant, the previous book by Don Gillmor, “probably the best example to date in what will no doubt become a burgeoning sub-genre of CanLit: the Canadian Debt Novel.” Gillmor’s latest, Long Change (Random House Canada), is about the politics of big oil, told through the prism of a transplanted Texan in Alberta.

Sharon Butala fall preview 2015Saskatchewan native Sharon Butala returns with an historical western set in the 1880s. Wild Rose (Coteau Books) tells the story of Sophie Hipplolyte and her life on the unforgiving Prairie. The epic canvas and ornate writing is being compared by the publisher to Faulkner.

Katherine Govier fall preview 2015Also set in the west is the new novel from Katherine Govier (The Ghost Brush). Set in the Canadian Rockies during the early 20th century, The Three Sisters Hotel (HarperCollins Canada) tells the story of a fossil-hunting expedition that disappears in a snowstorm.

Stuart McLean fall preview 2015Stuart McLean’s beloved Vinyl Café celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with a new collection of stories from Canada’s answer to Garrison Keillor. Vinyl Café Turns the Page (Viking Canada) follows Dave and Morley as they get older, mellower, and somewhat more worldly.

Trevor Cole fall preview 2015Canadian satirist Trevor Cole had success earlier this year with the stage adaptation of his first novel, Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life. Cole’s new novel, Hope Makes Love (Cormorant), is a tragicomedy about matters of the heart.

Stretching genres

  • In Experimental Film (ChiZine Publications), the latest novel by Gemma Files, a woman attending a Toronto avant-garde cinema exhibition becomes convinced she’s seen a snippet of film that might prove a missing socialite from the early 20th century was actually one of the country’s first female filmmakers.
  • Set in the near future, The Plotline Bomber of Innisfree (BookThug), by Josh Massey, takes up elk farming, political violence, and counterterrorism.
  • Andrew Battershill’s first novel, Pillow (Coach House Books), is described as a mash-up of Elmore Leonard and Alan Bradley, featuring surrealism, boxing, and a plot to kidnap Antonin Artaud.
  • Eddie Dougherty returns to the mean streets of 1970s Montreal to track a murderer against the backdrop of the Canada–U.S.S.R. Summit Series in John McFetridge’s new novel, A Little More Free (ECW Press).
  • The Society of Experience (Wolsak & Wynn), the debut novel from Toronto writer Matt Cahill, merges time travel, existential horror, and noir-inflected romance in a story of a man who has just lost his father and agrees to take part in a bizarre
    experiment run by the mysterious titular group.

More Malarky

Former Q&Q cover star Anakana Schofield’s debut, the 2012 novel Malarky, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and established its Irish-Canadian author as a vibrant, idiosyncratic new player on the CanLit field. Possessed of a bitingly acerbic voice influenced by Beckett, Joyce, and O’Casey, Schofield offers a sardonic, funny, and stylistically innovative breath of fresh air to a literature that too often feels starved for oxygen.

Schofield’s new novel, Martin John (Biblioasis), is a kind of addendum to Malarky, focusing on a minor character from the previous work. In an audacious change of pace, the author imagines her story from the perspective of the troubled eponymous character – a man with an aversion to words beginning with the letter “p” and a dark streak of uncomfortable attitudes and motivations toward women.