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Coming Soon

A selection of new books to be released in the next few months.

Pre-order your own copies by placing an order here on our website, or by contacting your nearest McNally Robinson bookstore.


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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

- by Ai Weiwei

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In his widely anticipated memoir, Ai Weiwei--one of the world's most famous artists and activists--tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, Ai Qing, the nation's most celebrated poet.

Hailed as "the most important artist working today" by the Financial Times and as "an eloquent and unsilenceable voice of freedom" by The New York Times, Ai Weiwei has written a sweeping memoir that presents a remarkable history of China over the last 100 years while illuminating his artistic process.
 
Once an intimate of Mao Zedong, Ai Weiwei's father was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as "Little Siberia," where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labor cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America, where he befriended Allen Ginsberg and was inspired by Andy Warhol. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist--and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime.
 
Ai Weiwei's sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. Here, for the first time, Ai Weiwei explores the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his own life story and that of his father, whose own creativity was stifled.
 
At once ambitious and intimate, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.

Library

- by Michael Dumontier

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Two of Canada's most famous visual artists take on the book medium in their own hilarious way

Library
is a collection of paintings by two of Canada's most influential contemporary artists, Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber. From the simple premise of the book title comes a series of images that are laugh-out-loud funny. A collection of book covers adorned with titles painted in simple handwritten fonts are displayed on brightly colored hardboard. Each book forms part of an ongoing series Dumontier and Farber started in 2009.

In Dumontier and Farber's Library, titles like I Lost the Human Race, Change Your Relationship to Your Unchangeable Past, and I Have a Medical Condition That Makes It So I Don't Have to Talk to You offer surprising and astute observations, all in the duo's characteristic deadpan style. The simplicity of the shapes and text evokes an immediate but lasting profundity, with each piece causing one to wonder about the thoughts that roam their consciousness, and the books that take up residence on their--and our--shelves.

Dumontier and Farber are founding members of the influential art collective the Royal Art Lodge, and have been collaborating on art projects for more than fifteen years, exhibiting internationally. Library is playful and insightful as it pokes and prods at the human condition.

Undersong

- by Kathleen Winter

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From Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter (author of the bestseller Annabel): A stunning novel reimagining the lost years of misunderstood Romantic Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth.

When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets writer Dorothy Wordsworth, he quickly realizes he's never met another woman anything like her. In her early thirties at the time of the meeting, Dorothy has already lived a wildly unconventional life. As her famous brother William Wordsworth's confidante and creative collaborator--considered by some in their circle to be the secret to his success as a poet--she has carved a seemingly idyllic existence for herself, alongside William and his wife, in England's Lake District. 
 
 One day, Dixon is approached by William to do some handiwork around the Wordsworth estate. At William's urging, he takes on more and more chores--and quickly understands that his real, unspoken responsibility is to keep an eye on Dorothy, who is growing frail and melancholic. The unlikely pair of misfits form a sympathetic bond despite the sometimes troubling chasm in social class between them, and soon Dixon is the quiet witness to everyday life in Dorothy's family and glittering social circle, which includes literary legends Samuel Coleridge, Thomas de Quincy, William Blake, and Charles and Mary Lamb.
 
 Through the fictional James Dixon--a gentle but troubled soul, more attuned to the wonders of the garden he faithfully tends than to vexing worldly matters--we step inside the Wordsworth family, witnessing their dramatic emotional and artistic struggles, hidden traumas, private betrayals and triumphs. At the same time, Winter slowly weaves a darker, complex "undersong" through the novel, one as earthy and elemental as flower and tree, gradually revealing the pattern of Dorothy's rich, hidden life--that of a woman determined, against all odds, to exist on her own terms despite societal norms. But the unsettling effects of Dorothy's tragically repressed brilliance take their toll, and when at last her true voice finally sings out, it is so searing and bright that Dixon, compelled equally by love and grief and fear, must make an impossible choice.

The Magician

- by Colm Toibin

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From the internationally bestselling author of Brooklyn and The Master comes the novel of a lifetime, Colm Toibin's most dazzling and ambitious book yet.

Telling the story of the German writer Thomas Mann from his earliest childhood until his life's end, The Magician is a masterpiece, a profound meditation on creative ambition, civic responsibility, queer desire, and the pull of history. In prose of startling clarity, and staggering psychological depth, Colm Toibin charts one of the great lives of the twentieth century, and, in doing so, holds a mirror up to the complexity of art, politics, and time itself.

Oh William!

- by Elizabeth Strout

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Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout explores the mysteries of marriage and the secrets we keep, as a former couple reckons with where they've come from--and what they've left behind. 

"Elizabeth Strout is one of my very favorite writers, so the fact that Oh William! may well be my favorite of her books is a mathematical equation for joy. The depth, complexity, and love contained in these pages is a miraculous achievement."--Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House

I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William. 

Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. 

So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret--one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout's "perfect attunement to the human condition." There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together--even after we've grown apart. 

At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. "This is the way of life," Lucy says: "the many things we do not know until it is too late."

Beautiful World, Where Are You

- by Sally Rooney

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Here is the extraordinary, thrilling new novel from Sally Rooney, author of the internationally bestselling Normal People and Conversations with Friends.

Beautiful World, Where Are You tells the story of Alice and Eileen, two best friends approaching their thirties, and on very different trajectories. Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he'd like to travel to Italy with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. 

Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young--but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

A Dream of a Woman

- by Casey Plett

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Award-winning novelist Casey Plett (Little Fish) returns with a poignant suite of stories that center transgender women. Casey Plett's 2018 novel Little Fish won a Lambda Literary Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction, and the Amazon First Novel Award. Her latest work, A Dream of a Woman, is her first book of short stories since her seminal 2014 collection A Safe Girl to Love. Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, and in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days. In "Hazel and Christopher," two childhood friends reconnect as adults after one of them has transitioned. In "Perfect Places," a woman grapples with undesirability as she navigates fetish play with a man. In "Couldn't Hear You Talk Anymore," the narrator reflects on her tumultuous life and what might have been as she recalls tender moments with another trans woman. An ethereal meditation on partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness, and love, the stories in A Dream of a Woman buzz with quiet intensity and the intimate complexities of being human.

Once More, With Feeling

- by Sophie Mccreesh

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Calling to mind smart, deadpan and unrepentant novels such as The New Me and My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Sophie McCreesh's distinctive and arresting debut novel is about a young woman veering towards self-destruction.

Once More, With Feeling follows Jane, an artist navigating her closest relationships while fixating on her own perceived failures and self-imposed isolation. When Jane receives a student grant to attend a workshop in London, England, she sees the opportunity to leave her tedious life behind and start anew, bringing along her new friend Kitty, who Jane will not admit she has little in common with other than a shared appreciation for boxed wine and various other drugs.

In London, Jane struggles to improve both her craft and her mindset while Kitty thrives, and a once exciting trip abroad transforms the already uneven dynamic of their friendship, leaving Jane feeling more withdrawn than ever. As her increasingly destructive behaviour gets in the way of her artistic ambitions, her most important relationships--those with Kitty, her absent lover Richard and a discredited therapist named Anna--begin to deteriorate as Jane starts to examine her growing dependence on substances.

Darkly funny, piercing and tender, Once More, With Feeling is a portrait of a detached young woman trapped in the perils of self-loathing and addiction, who is searching for originality in an age of profound social disconnection and anxiety.

Indians on Vacation

- by Thomas King

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A #1 Indie bestseller and a Canadian bestseller for 22 weeks, the brilliant latest novel from one of Canada's foremost authors

Inspired by a handful of postcards sent nearly a hundred years ago, Bird and Mimi attempt to trace long-lost uncle Leroy and the family medicine bundle he took with him to Europe.


"I'm sweaty and sticky. My ears are still popping from the descent into Vaclav Havel. My sinuses ache. My stomach is upset. My mouth is a sewer. I roll over and bury my face in a pillow. Mimi snuggles down beside me with no regard for my distress.


'My god,' she whispers, 'can it get any better?'"


 By turns witty, sly and poignant, this is the unforgettable tale of one couple's holiday in Europe, where their wanderings through its famous capitals reveal a complicated history, both personal and political.   

Operation Angus

- by Terry Fallis

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From bestselling author Terry Fallis comes the long-awaited follow-up to The Best Laid Plans and The High Road--a comic spy story that heralds the return of Angus McLintock.

Angus McLintock, accidental Member of Parliament, has won re-election and is now the Minister of State for International Relations--or, in other words, he's the junior global affairs minister. In this new post, he and his trusty Chief of Staff, Daniel Addison, are in London to meet with their international counterparts to discuss the upcoming G8 Summit in Washington. Unfortunately, Angus is not in charge of Canada's involvement in the summit--that task falls to the actual Global Affairs Minister, not the junior one. What Angus is responsible for is planning a brief post-summit meeting in Ottawa between the Prime Minister and the President of Russia, the former head of the KGB.

     The London meetings are all going to plan until Daniel receives a cryptic, late-night text, from a burner phone, directing him to a pub around the corner from their hotel. There is important information he needs to know, the mysterious texter says--but he must keep the meeting a secret, and must come alone. Naturally, he immediately tells Angus, who of course tags along to the pub--just as reinforcement. The soon-to-be-retired MI6 agent who is waiting for Daniel is not pleased, but there are more pressing matters at hand: Chechen separatists are plotting to assassinate the Russian President--and it's going to happen when he's in Ottawa to meet with the Prime Minister, just weeks away. Angus and Daniel have to put a stop to it before it's too late. Naturally, no one in Ottawa will take them, or their top-secret intelligence, seriously, so they're on their own.

     In an instant, they are thrown into a race against the clock to uncover the Chechen sleeper cell, thwart their plans, and ultimately save the Russian President. Along the way, in classic Angus and Daniel style, they have to dodge bitter rivals, enraged protestors, and even a runaway Cessna. This is a madcap cloak-and-dagger adventure with humour and heart that will delight and entertain readers until the very last page.

The Most Precious Substance on Earth

- by Shashi Bhat

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A humorous coming-of-age novel and a sharp-edged look at how silence can shape a life, from the winner of the Journey Prize.

"But wait, what happened to the girl?"
   "I don't know," I say. I don't tell him that what will happen to her is what happens to every girl. 
     Nina, a bright, hilarious, and sensitive 14-year-old, doesn't say anything when her best friend begins to pull away, or when her crush on her English teacher intensifies. She doesn't say anything when her mother tries to match her up with local Halifax Indian boys unfamiliar with her Saved by the Bell references, or when her worried father starts reciting Hindu prayers outside her bedroom door. ("How can your dad be happy when his only daughter is unsettled?") 
     And she won't speak of the incident in high school that changes the course of her life. 
     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.
     Darkly funny, deeply moving, at times unsettling and even shocking, Shashi Bhat's irresistible novel examines the fraught relationships between those who take and those who have something taken. Rich with wry humour and sharp-edged insight, The Most Precious Substance on Earth is an unforgettable portrait of how silence can shape a life.
 

Out of Mind

- by David Bergen

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"Bergen's power as a writer pulls like an undertow... An uncanny, discerning, merciful algebra on what love takes, and where it leaves us." -- Paige Cooper

In Out of Mind, David Bergen delves into the psyche of Lucille Black, mother, grandmother, lover, psychiatrist, and analyst of self, who first appeared in Bergen's bestselling novel The Matter with Morris. Although adept at probing the lives of others, Lucille has become untethered, caught between duty and desire, between the demands of family and her own longing.

Her ex-husband Morris betrays her by publishing a memoir about the aftermath of their son Martin's death in Afghanistan. She travels to Thailand to attempt to extricate her youngest daughter from the clutches of an apparent cult leader. And she is invited to the south of France to attend the marriage of a man whom she rejected a year earlier. Negotiating with herself about her altered role in the lives of her family and friends, Lucille circles the globe -- and herself.

In this brilliant and subtle evocation of vulnerability and loss, Bergen traces one woman's quest to reform her identity, reminding us that the unexpected is always lying in wait.

Ridgerunner

- by Gil Adamson

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Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Winner Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist Part literary Western and part historical mystery, Writers' Trust Fiction Prize winner Ridgerunner is now available as a paperback. November 1917. William Moreland is in mid-flight. After nearly twenty years, the notorious thief, known as the Ridgerunner, has returned. Moving through the Rocky Mountains and across the border to Montana, the solitary drifter, impoverished in means and aged beyond his years, is also a widower and a father. And he is determined to steal enough money to secure his son's future. Twelve-year-old Jack Boulton has been left in the care of Sister Beatrice, a formidable nun who keeps him in cloistered seclusion in her grand old house. Though he knows his father is coming for him, the boy longs to return to his family's cabin, deep in the woods. When Jack finally breaks free, he takes with him something the nun is determined to get back -- at any cost. Set against the backdrop of a distant war raging in Europe and a rapidly changing landscape in the West, Gil Adamson's follow-up to her award-winning debut, The Outlander, is a vivid historical novel that draws from the epic tradition and a literary Western brimming with a cast of unforgettable characters touched with humour and loss, and steeped in the wild of the natural world.

Having and Being Had

- by Eula Biss

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NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME , NPR, INSTYLE, AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

"A sensational new book [that] tries to figure out whether it's possible to live an ethical life in a capitalist society. . . . The results are enthralling." --Associated Press 

A timely and arresting new look at affluence by the New York Times bestselling author, "one of the leading lights of the modern American essay." --Financial Times


"My adult life can be divided into two distinct parts," Eula Biss writes, "the time before I owned a washing machine and the time after." Having just purchased her first home, the poet and essayist now embarks on a provocative exploration of the value system she has bought into. Through a series of engaging exchanges--in libraries and laundromats, over barstools and backyard fences--she examines our assumptions about class and property and the ways we internalize the demands of capitalism. Described by the New York Times as a writer who "advances from all sides, like a chess player," Biss offers an uncommonly immersive and deeply revealing new portrait of work and luxury, of accumulation and consumption, of the value of time and how we spend it. Ranging from IKEA to Beyoncé to Pokemon, Biss asks, of both herself and her class, "In what have we invested?"

The Strangers

- by Katherena Vermette

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From the bestselling author of The Break comes a staggering intergenerational saga that explores how connected we are, even when we're no longer together--even when we're forced apart.

Cedar has nearly forgotten what her family looks like. Phoenix has nearly forgotten what freedom feels like. And Elsie has nearly given up hope. Nearly.

After time spent in foster homes, Cedar goes to live with her estranged father. Although she grapples with the pain of being separated from her mother, Elsie, and sister, Phoenix, she's hoping for a new chapter in her life, only to find herself once again in a strange house surrounded by strangers. From a youth detention centre, Phoenix gives birth to a baby she'll never get to raise and tries to forgive herself for all the harm she's caused (while wondering if she even should). Elsie, struggling with addiction and determined to turn her life around, is buoyed by the idea of being reunited with her daughters and strives to be someone they can depend on, unlike her own distant mother. These are the Strangers, each haunted in her own way. Between flickering moments of warmth and support, the women diverge and reconnect, fighting to survive in a fractured system that pretends to offer success but expects them to fail. Facing the distinct blade of racism from those they trusted most, they urge one another to move through the darkness, all the while wondering if they'll ever emerge safely on the other side. 

A breathtaking companion to her bestselling debut The Break, Vermette's The Strangers brings readers into the dynamic world of the Stranger family, the strength of their bond, the shared pain in their past, and the light that beckons from the horizon. This is a searing exploration of race, class, inherited trauma, and matrilineal bonds that--despite everything--refuse to be broken.

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