Last year was big for Canadian literature. Both The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt and Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan made an international splash while picking up nominations for most of the huge literary awards. Meanwhile, Vancouverite authors Michael Christie and Zsuszi Gartner both received recognition for their collections of short fiction.
As it turns out, 2012 is stacking up to be a solid year for Can-Lit as well. Below, The Ubyssey has compiled a list of ten of the most promising books slated for release in the next 12 months.
#1. The Dead Are More Visible by Steven Heighton
Steven Heighton was once described as “one of the best writers of his generation, maybe the best” by Canadian poet Al Purdy.
The Dead Are More Visible is his eleventh book and his third collection of short fiction. It includes 11 short stories that riff on themes of love and loss, containment and exclusion.
The title story from this collection won a National Magazine Gold Medal in 2007 after it appeared in The Walrus. It tells the story of a young suburban woman who participates in a pharmaceutical trial and finds she is slipping between awake and dreaming states with alarming ease.
#2. One in Every Crowd by Ivan E. Coyote
Ivan E. Coyote is a Canadian icon, who besides writing eight books, also co-edited the anthology Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme and currently keeps a busy schedule of performing, teaching and reading all around the world.
One in Every Crowd includes stories from a number of previous collections as well as some new material.
Expect tales of Coyote’s Northern childhood, her current life in the big city, and stories about visiting a queer youth camp. The book is her first collection intended specifically for queer youth.
#3. Why Men Lie by Linden MacIntyre
MacIntyre won the Scotiabank Giller Prize a few years ago for his novel The Bishop’s Man. His eagerly anticipated novel comes out this year in March.
Why Men Lie is about Effie MacAskill Gillis, a woman who has learned that men aren’t trustworthy from her experiences with a war-damaged father and a troubled brother, as well as through failed marriages and doomed relationships with weak and needy men.
Now at middle age, she feels immunized against the damage men can do and enjoys a hard-won independence. But then a chance encounter with a man on a subway platform changes everything
#4. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
He has published poetry, non-fiction and fiction. His latest novel is about a man named Saul Indian Horse, an alcoholic who has ended up in a treatment facility. The only way he can find peace is by telling his story.
Wagamese explores the decline of a culture and a cultural way through this book, which takes place in Northern Ontario.
#5. Float Like The Dead by Yasuko Thanh
Yasuko Thanh won the 2010 Journey Prize for the title story of this collection, about a leper colony off the coast of Vancouver Island.
The characters in Floating Like The Dead include marginalized members of society, expats and outliers. Her stories, which are set in a variety of locales including Mexico, Germany and Canada, are being hailed as erotic charged, poetic and beautiful.
These stories promise to be expertly rendered, controversial and challenging.
#6. The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
This novel is set in post-war Montreal, and follows the story of a mysterious and enigmatic woman who is suspected of identity theft.
Richler’s two previous novels, Throwaway Angels and Your Mouth Is Lovely received a number of awards. Her short fiction has also appeared in some of the most prestigious literary journals in North America.
Her writing has been compared to Charlotte Bronte and has been translated into seven languages. Anticipation for this novel is high.
#7. The Magnified World by Grace O’Connell
This is the debut novel of a young writer whose work has appeared in The Walrus and other literary publications. She was once nominated for the Bronwen Wallace Award and is one of Knopf’s New Faces of Fiction.
The Magnified World is about a young woman who works at a New Age Shop whose mother kills herself. She begins receiving visits from a mysterious customer, and starts having blackouts. The story explores themes of loss and uncertainty, and vividly portrays a young woman who is grappling with grief.
#8. In the Flesh by Various Authors
Lynn Van Luven and Kathy Page edited this collection of twenty authors’ musings on the body, both from the female and male perspective. The writers include literary mainstays suchs as Lorna Crozier, Madeline Thein, Brian Bett and Susan Olding.
These candid essays explore our bodies from a variety of perspectives, and make us reconsider how we relate to them. Each piece fixates on one particular part of the body, from the nose to the hair to the genitalia. Readers can expect to view their bodies in a new way after reading this anthology.
#9. Impact by Billeh Nickerson
Nickerson is a Vancouver-based poet who is well-known for his humorous takes on contemporary culture. His recent collection McPoems is vastly different from his upcoming book Impact, which is about the sinking of the Titanic.
Impact is being published on the 100th anniversary of the sinking, and promises to make Canadians look at the event in a new light. It is based on historical research Nickerson did both in Dublin and in his birthplace of Halifax.
This poetry collection will challenge readers to look a historical event in a startlingly new way.
#10. Five Little Bitches by Theresa McWhirter
Five Little Bitches chronicles five women’s lives as they navigate the punk rock scene, and as their band Wet Leather tours across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. This book promises to give readers an inside look at the gritty underbelly of the scene.
To gather material for this novel, McWhirter herself toured with a punk rock band across the world. Expect this book to be gritty, sexy and fun.