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Diverse Canadian Literature

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Canada is a diverse country, full of eye-opening and dazzling stories. These books are written by diverse Canadian authors and include non-majority narratives exploring topics such as race, multiculturalism, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Ferguson, Genki.
Satellite love

In a city in Japan that progress has forgotten, sixteen-year-old Anna Obata looks to the stars for guidance. An outcast at school, fending for herself and caring for her increasingly senile grandfather at home, Anna copes with her loneliness by searching the night sky for answers. Everything changes the night a satellite sees her as no one else has before.

Feng, Linda Rui
Swimming back to Trout River

Swimming Back to Trout River weaves together the stories of Junie, Momo, Cassia, and Dawn-a talented violinist from Momo's past-while depicting their heartbreak and resilience, tenderly revealing the hope, compromises, and abiding ingenuity that make up the lives of immigrants.

Demchuk, David.
Red X

Men are disappearing from Toronto's gay village. They're the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. Against the shifting backdrop of homophobia throughout the decades, from the HIV/AIDS crisis and riots against raids to gentrification and police brutality, the survivors face inaction from the law and disinterest from society at large. But as the missing grow in number, those left behind begin to realize that whoever or whatever is taking these men has been doing so for longer than is humanly possible.

Desai, Sara.
The dating plan

Without rules, these fake fiancés might accidentally fall for each other in this romantic comedy by the author of The Marriage Game. Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. Ever the obedient daughter, she always follows the rules, but the one thing she can't give her family is the marriage they expect. With few options left to her, and desperate to escape a parade of unwanted suitors, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiancé.

Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, Cheluchi
The son of the house

In 'The Son of the House', the lives of two Nigerian women divided by class and social inequality intersect when they're kidnapped, held captive, and forced to await their fate together. Pulsing with vitality and intense human drama, this debut novel is set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, celebrating the resilience of women as they navigate and transform what still remains a mans world.

McWatt, Tessa.
The snow line

Two guests at an Indian wedding are drawn into an unlikely friendship.

Ozeki, Ruth
Book of Form and Emptiness

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house--a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world and he meets his very own Book--a talking thing--who narrates Benny's life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

Sindu, Sj .
Blue-Skinned Gods

In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child's blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. In Kalki's tenth year, he is confronted with three trials that will test his power and prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. While he seems to pass them, Kalki begins to question his divinity. Over the next decade, his family unravels, and every relationship he relied on--father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin--starts falling apart. Traveling from India to the underground rock scene of New York City, Blue-Skinned Gods explores ethnic, gender, and sexual identities, and spans continents and faiths, in an expansive and heartfelt look at the need for belief in our globally interconnected world.

Alexis, Andre
Ring

From their very first encounter, it would seem that Gwen and Tancred were made for one another. Like all good romances, Ring will bring them together ... eventually. But first there is, of course, a wrinkle. Gwenhwyfar's mother, Helen Odhiambo Lloyd, upon intuiting that her daughter is in love, gives her a ring that has been passed down, with three mysterious books, from endless generations of mothers to their daughters. The ring grants the bearer an opportunity to change three things about her beloved - but the ring demands things in return for its miracles.

Thuy, Kim
Em

In the midst of war, an ordinary miracle: an abandoned baby tenderly cared for by a young boy living on the streets of Saigon. The boy is Louis, the child of a long-gone American soldier. Louis calls the baby em Hồng, em meaning "little sister," or "beloved." Even though her cradle is nothing more than a cardboard box, em Hồng's life holds every possibility.

Ozeki, Ruth
Book of Form and Emptiness

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house--a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous. At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many. And he meets his very own Book--a talking thing--who narrates Benny's life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

Bhat, Shashi .
Most Precious Substance on Earth

On her tumultuous path from nineties high school student to present-day high school teacher, Nina will learn difficult truths about existing as a woman in the world. And whether she's pushing herself to deliver speeches at Toastmasters meetings, struggling through her MFA program, enduring the indignities of online dating, or wrestling with how to best guide her students, she will discover that the past is never far behind her.

Stintzi, John Elizabeth
Vanishing monuments

A non-binary photographer returns home thirty years after running hoping to help with their mother's dementia and to find a closure that may no longer be possible.

Love after the end

A bold and breathtaking anthology of queer Indigenous speculative fiction, edited by the author of Jonny Appleseed . This exciting and groundbreaking fiction collection showcases a number of new and emerging 2SQ (Two-Spirit and queer) Indigenous writers from across Turtle Island. These visionary authors show how queer Indigenous communities can bloom and thrive through utopian narratives that detail the vivacity and strength of 2SQness throughout its plight in the maw of settler colonialism's histories.

Ekwuyasi, Francesca
Butter honey pig bread

An intergenerational saga about three Nigerian women: a novel about food, family, and forgiveness. Spanning three continents, Butter Honey Pig Bread tells the interconnected stories of three Nigerian women: Kambirinachi and her twin daughters, Kehinde and Taiye.

Doctor, Farzana.
Seven

A rich, soulfully written novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between modern and traditional customs. When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India, she thinks that she's going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined. Sharifa's trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa's two favourite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate, and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.

Kamal, Sheena .
No Going Back

Nora Watts has a talent for seeing what lies beneath strangers' surfaces, and for knowing what they're working hard to keep hidden. Somehow, it's the people closest to her she has trouble truly connecting with. In the case of Bonnie, the teenage daughter Nora gave up for adoption, she has to keep trying. Two years ago, Bonnie was kidnapped by the wealthy Zhang family. She made a powerful enemy in Dao, a mysterious triad enforcer and former head of the Zhangs' private security. From Canada to southeast Asia they pursue Dao, uncovering a shadowy criminal cabal. But soon, the trail will lead full circle to Vancouver, the only home Nora's ever known, and right to the heart of her brutal past.

Lalli, Sonya.
Grown-up pose

Adulting shouldn't be this hard. Especially in your thirties. Having been pressured by her tight-knit Indian community to get married at a young age to her first serious boyfriend, Anu Desai must now start from the beginning: learning who she is and what she truly wants. But Anu doesn't have time to start over. Telling her parents that she was separating from her husband was the hardest thing she's ever done--and she's still dealing with the fallout. She has a young daughter to raise and a loud, opinionated family to appease. And when she invests all of her savings into running her own yoga (a career path her parents had always steered her away from), the feelings of irresponsibility send Anu reeling. She'll be forced to look inside herself to become the strong, independent woman she's never had the chance to be--the kind of woman who would be proud to have her daughter follow in her footsteps.

Cinnamon, Bruce
The melting queen

Since 1904, when the ice breaks up on the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton crowns a Melting Queen, a woman who presides over the Melting Day spring carnival and must keep the city's spirits up over the following winter. But this year a genderfluid university dropout called River Runson is named as Melting Queen. River is betrayed by their best friend, and River recalls intrusive memories of past Melting Queens, and vows to change things.

Khan, Adnan
There has to be a knife

Omar Ali is a ticking time bomb. A phone call from his ex-girlfriend Anna's father plunges him into darkness when he learns that she's committed suicide. Clueless and hurting, Omar turns to violence and petty crime to cope. His nefarious activities catch the attention of the RCMP, who pressure him into becoming an informant at a mosque they suspect harbours a terrorist cell. Unravelling from insomnia, sorrow, and rage, Omar grasps at his last shred of hope, embarking on a quest to find the note he's convinced Anna left for him. There Has to Be a Knife examines expectations - both intimate and political - on brown men, exploring ideas of cultural identity and the tropes we use to represent them.

Gowda, Shilpi Somaya .
Shape of Family

The Olanders embody a modern family in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home. But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family's foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward.

Khan, Ausma Zehanat.
A deadly divide

In the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec, the local police apprehend Amadou Duchon--a young Muslim man at the scene helping the wounded--but release Etienne Roy, the local priest who was found with a weapon in his hands. The shooting looks like a hate crime, but detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty sense there is more to the story. Sent to liaise with a community in the grip of fear, they find themselves in fraught new territory, fueled by the panic and suspicion exploited by a right-wing radio host. As Rachel and Esa grapple to stop tensions shutting the case down entirely, all the time, someone is pointing Esa in another direction, a shadowy presence who anticipates his every move. A Deadly Divide is a piercingly observed, gripping thriller that reveals the fractures that try to tear us all apart: from the once-tight partnership between detectives Esa and Rachel, to the truth about a deeply divided nation.

Heron, Farah.
The chai factor

Thirty-year-old engineer Amira Khan has set one rule for herself: no dating until her grad-school thesis is done. Nothing can distract her from completing a paper that is so good her boss will give her the promotion she deserves when she returns to work in the city. Amira leaves campus early, planning to work in the quiet basement apartment of her family's house. But she arrives home to find that her grandmother has rented the basement to . . . a barbershop quartet. Seriously? The living situation is awkward: Amira needs silence; the quartet needs to rehearse for a competition; and Duncan, the small-town baritone with the flannel shirts, is driving her up the wall. As Amira and Duncan clash, she is surprised to feel a simmering attraction for him. How can she be interested in someone who doesn't get her, or her family's culture? This is not a complication she needs when her future is at stake. But when intolerance rears its ugly head and people who are close to Amira get hurt, she learns that there is more to Duncan than meets the eye. Now she must decide what she is willing to fight for. In the end, it may be that this small-town singer is the only person who sees her at all.

Jalaluddin, Uzma.
Ayesha at last

AYESHA SHAMSI has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn't want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century. When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and his family; and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can't get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind.

Hamilton, Jane Eaton
Weekend

Two lesbian couples visit Ontario cottage country and become neighbors for the duration of their stay.