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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shraya, Vivek .
Indie musician Neela Devaki has built a career writing the songs she wants to hear but nobody else is singing. When one of Neela's songs is covered by internet artist RUK-MINI and becomes a viral sensation, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But before long, the systemic pressures that pit women against one another begin to bear down on Neela and RUK-MINI, stirring up self-doubt and jealousy. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, a career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the centre of an internet firestorm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Two lesbian couples visit Ontario cottage country and become neighbors for the duration of their stay.
Vi is the youngest of four children and the only girl, Vi was given a name that meant "precious, tiny one," destined to be cosseted and protected, the family's little treasure. Daughter of an enterprising mother and a wealthy and spoiled father who never had to grow up, the Vietnam war tears their family asunder. While Vi and many of her family members escape, her father stays behind, and her family must fend for themselves in Canada.
Wendy Reimer is a thirty-year-old trans woman in Winnipeg who comes across evidence that her late grandfather, a devout Mennonite farmer, might have been transgender as well. At first she dismisses the revelation, but as she and her friends struggle to cope with the challenges of their increasingly volatile lives Wendy is drawn to the lost pieces of her grandfather's past.
The boat people
When the rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and 500 fellow refugees from Sri Lanka's bloody civil war reaches the shores of British Columbia, the young father believes the struggles that he and his six-year-old son have long faced are finally over. But their journey has only just begun. The group is thrown into prison, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among "the boat people" are members of a terrorist militia infamous for suicide attacks.
Leung, Carrianne K. Y.
That time I loved you
Life is never as perfect as it seems. Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up. The suburbs of the 1970s promised to be heaven on earth - new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world, a series of sudden catastrophic events reveals that not everyone's dreams come true. Moving from house to house, Carrianne Leung explores the inner lives behind the tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows, always returning to June, an irrepressible adolescent Chinese-Canadian coming of age in this shifting world. Through June and her neighbours, Leung depicts the fine line where childhood meets the realities of adult life, and examines, with insight and sharp prose, how difficult it is to be true to ourselves at any age.
A gripping and deeply felt novel about a group of young girls at a remote camp--and the night that changes everything and will shape their lives for decades to come.