I Read Canadian
As a Canadian-owned and operated company, McNally Robinson has always put a special emphasis on Canadian authors and their books. Featured here are some of our booksellers' favourite Canadian books.
- by Stephen Bown
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A thrilling new telling of the story of modern Canada's origins.
The story of the Hudson's Bay Company, dramatic and adventurous and complex, is the story of modern Canada's creation. And yet it hasn't been told in a book for over thirty years, and never in such depth and vivid detail as in Stephen R. Bown's exciting new telling.
The Company started out small in 1670, trading practical manufactured goods for furs with the Indigenous inhabitants of inland subarctic Canada. Controlled by a handful of English aristocrats, it expanded into a powerful political force that ruled the lives of many thousands of people--from the lowlands south and west of Hudson Bay, to the tundra, the great plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific northwest. It transformed the culture and economy of many Indigenous groups and ended up as the most important political and economic force in northern and western North America.
When the Company was faced with competition from French traders in the 1780s, the result was a bloody corporate battle, the coming of Governor George Simpson--one of the greatest villains in Canadian history--and the Company assuming political control and ruthless dominance. By the time its monopoly was rescinded after two hundred years, the Hudson's Bay Company had reworked the entire northern North American world.
Stephen R. Bown has a scholar's profound knowledge and understanding of the Company's history, but wears his learning lightly in a narrative as compelling, and rich in well-drawn characters, as a page-turning novel.
- by S. Thammavongsa
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WINNER OF THE 2020 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Named one of Time Magazine's Must-Read Books of 2020 and one of the best books of the month by The New York Times, Salon, Vanity Fair, Bustle, The Millions, and Vogue, and featuring stories that have appeared in Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review, this revelatory book of fiction from O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa establishes her as an essential new voice in Canadian and world literature. Told with compassion and wry humour, these stories honour characters struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the necessary "grunt work of the world."
A young man painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken processing plant. A father who packs furniture to move into homes he'll never afford. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. In her stunning debut book of fiction, O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance, and above all their pursuit of a place to belong. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and a sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values. As one of Thammavongsa's characters says, "All we wanted was to live." And in these stories, they do--brightly, ferociously, unforgettably.
A daughter becomes an unwilling accomplice in her mother's growing infatuation with country singer Randy Travis. A boxer finds an unexpected chance at redemption while working at his sister's nail salon. An older woman finds her assumptions about the limits of love unravelling when she begins a relationship with her much younger neighbour. A school bus driver must grapple with how much he's willing to give up in order to belong. And in the Commonwealth Short Story Prize-shortlisted title story, a young girl's unconditional love for her father transcends language.
Unsentimental yet tender, and fiercely alive, How to Pronounce Knife announces Souvankham Thammavongsa as one of the most striking voices of her generation.
- by Ashley Audrain
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INSTANT INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
"Written with an unflinching eye and a stylistically sharp, tight economy The Push is a single-sitting read, as suspenseful as any thriller, as thoughtful as any literary novel, with an almost physical force behind each of its turns and revelations."--Toronto Star
A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, told through the eyes of a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for--and everything she feared.
Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, supportive mother she never had to her new baby Violet.
But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe doesn't find the connection with her daughter she expected. She's convinced that something is wrong with Violet--the little girl is distant, rejects affection, and becomes increasingly disruptive at preschool.
Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she is imagining things. Fox doesn't see what Blythe sees; he sees a wife who is struggling to cope with the day-to-day challenges of being a mother. And the more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity...
Then their son Sam is born--and with him, Blythe has the natural maternal connection she'd always dreamed of. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth about herself, her past, and her daughter.
The Push is a rare and extraordinary gift to readers: a novel about the expectations of motherhood we're taught not to challenge and what really happens behind the closed doors of even the most perfect-looking families. It's impossible to put down and impossible to forget.
- by Saleema Nawaz
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"In these dark days, Saleema Nawaz dares to write of hope. Songs for the End of the World is a loving, vivid, tenderly felt novel about men, women, and a possible apocalypse. I couldn't put it down." -- Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors and The Wagers
NATIONAL BESTSELLER. An immersive, deeply engaging, and hopeful novel about the power of human connection in a time of crisis, as the bonds of love, family, and duty are tested by an impending catastrophe. Named a Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, 49th Shelf, and a Book You Should Read by Maclean's and Chatelaine.
How quickly he'd forgotten a fundamental truth: the closer you got to the heart of a calamity, the more resilience there was to be found.
This is the story of a handful of people living through an unfolding catastrophe.
Elliot is a first responder in New York, a man running from past failures and struggling to do the right thing. Emma is a pregnant singer preparing to headline a benefit concert for victims of a growing outbreak--all while questioning what kind of world her child is coming into. Owen is the author of a bestselling plague novel with eerie similarities to the real-life crisis. As fact and fiction begin to blur, he must decide whether his lifelong instinct for self-preservation has been worth the cost.
As the novel moves back and forth in time, we discover these characters' ties to one another--and to those whose lives intersect with theirs--in an extraordinary web of connection and community that reveals none of us is ever truly alone. Linking them all is the mystery of the so-called ARAMIS Girl, a woman at the first infection site whose unknown identity and whereabouts cause a furor.
Written and revised between 2013 and 2019, and brilliantly told by an unforgettable chorus of voices, Saleema Nawaz's glittering novel is a moving and hopeful meditation on what we owe to ourselves and to each other. It reminds us that disaster can bring out the best in people--and that coming together may be what saves us in the end.
- by Andrew Wedderburn
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A joy ride set on a crash course with the past. Audrey Cole has always loved to drive. Anytime, anywhere, any car: a questionable rustbucket, a family sedan, the SUV she was paid to drive around the oil fields. From the second she learned to drive, she’s always found a way to hit the road. Years ago, when she abandoned her oil field job, she found herself chauffeuring around the Lever Men, a B-list band relegated to playing empty dive bars in far-flung towns. That’s how she found herself at the Crash Palace, an isolated lodge outside the big city where people pay to party in the wilderness. And now, one night, while her young daughter is asleep at home, Audrey is struck by that old urge and finds herself testing the doors of parked cars in her neighbourhood. Before she knows it, she’s headed north in the dead of winter to the now abandoned Crash Palace in a stolen car, unable to stop herself from confronting her past The Crash Palace is a funny, moving, and surprising novel by the author of the Amazon First Novel Award–nominated The Milk Chicken Bomb. Audrey is unlike any character you’ve met before, and you'll love being along for the ride.
- by Amanda Leduc
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Amanda Leduc's brilliant new novel, woven with fairy tales of her own devising and replete with both catastrophe and magic, is a vision of what happens when we ignore the natural world and the darker parts of our own natures.
Heather is sleeping peacefully after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside with her babies and her new husband, Brendan, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family are among only a few who survived.
But the mountain that looms over the city is still green--somehow it has been spared the destruction that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Heather is one of the few who know the mountain, a place city-dwellers have always been forbidden to go. Her dad took her up the mountain when she was a child on a misguided quest to heal her legs, damaged at birth. The tragedy that resulted has shaped her life, bringing her both great sorrow and an undying connection to the deep magic of the mountain, made real by the beings she and her dad encountered that day: Estajfan, a centaur born of sorrow and of an ancient, impossible love, and his two siblings, marooned between the magical and the human world. Even as those in the city around her--led by Tasha, a charismatic doctor who fled to the city from the coast with her wife and other refugees--struggle to keep everyone alive, Heather constantly looks to the mountain, drawn by love, by fear, by the desire for rescue. She is torn in two by her awareness of what unleashed the meteor shower and what is coming for the few survivors, once the green and living earth makes a final reckoning of the usefulness of human life and finds it wanting.
At times devastating, but ultimately redemptive, Amanda Leduc's fable for our uncertain times reminds us that the most important things in life aren't things at all, but rather the people we want by our side at the end of the world.
- by George J. Mitchell
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A breathtaking full-colour photography book celebrating the architectural splendour and cultural heritage of Winnipeg's famed Exchange District, a National Historic Site and one of the city's most vibrant artistic, commercial, and tourist hubs.
The Exchange District is the architectural jewel of Winnipeg's downtown core, a thirty-block area featuring 150 remarkably preserved heritage buildings dating back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These iconic buildings are among the best examples in North America of several turn-of-the-century architectural styles, including Romanesque, Italianate, Beaux-Arts, and Chicago School. From its origins in the 1880s as a commercial and industrial gateway to the Canadian West to its current revitalization, the Exchange exemplifies the spirit of a modern city embracing its past while creating a bright and dynamic future.
Treasures of Winnipeg's Historical Exchange is a sumptuous visual feast for residents and visitors. With stunning photography highlighting the impressive scale and intricate detail of the Exchange's imposing banks, sprawling warehouses, and commercial towers, this book will amaze and delight anyone interested in Winnipeg's history and architecture. In addition, the book captures the renewed energy, creativity, hospitality, and entrepreneurial spirit that have invigorated the Exchange in recent years, making it one of Canada's most vibrant up-and-coming neighbourhoods.
- by Darren Bernhardt
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Manitoba's history is one of being carved. Ice sculpted the land before nomadic first people pressed trails across it. Southern First Nations dug into the earth to grow corn and potatoes while those in the north mined it for quartz used in arrowheads. Fur traders arrived, expanding on Indigenous trading networks and shaping new ones. Then came settlers who chiselled the terrain with villages, towns and cities. But there is failure and suffering etched into the history, too. In Winnipeg, slums emerged as the city's population boomed. There were more workers than jobs and the pay was paltry. Immigrants and First Nations were treated as second-class, shunted to the fringes. Rebellions and strikes, political scandals and natural disasters occured as the people molded Manitoba. That past has been thoroughly chronicled, yet within it are lesser-known stories of people, places and events. In The Lesser Known, Darren Bernhardt shares odd tales lost in time, such as The Tin Can Cathedral, the first independent Ukrainian church in North America; the jail cell hidden beneath a Winnipeg theatre; the bear pit of Confusion Corner; gardening competitions between fur trading forts and more. Once deemed important enough to be documented, these stories are now buried. It's time to carve away at them once again.
- by Margaret Atwood
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The collection of a lifetime from the bestselling novelist and poet.
By turns moving, playful and wise, the poems gathered in Dearly are about absences and endings, ageing and retrospection, but also about gifts and renewals. They explore bodies and minds in transition, as well as the everyday objects and rituals that embed us in the present. Werewolves, sirens and dreams make their appearance, as do various forms of animal life and fragments of our damaged environment.
Before she became one of the world's most important and loved novelists, Atwood was a poet. Dearly is her first collection in over a decade. It brings together many of her most recognizable and celebrated themes, but distilled - from minutely perfect descriptions of the natural world to startlingly witty encounters with aliens, from pressing political issues to myth and legend. It is a pure Atwood delight, and long-term readers and new fans alike will treasure its insight, empathy and humour.
- by Rupi Kaur
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey and the sun and her flowers comes her greatly anticipated third collection of poetry.
rupi kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself - reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here.
i dive into the well of my body
and end up in another world
everything i need
already exists in me
there's no need
to look anywhere else
- by Peter Mansbridge
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From Peter Mansbridge, the beloved former anchor of CBC's The National, and Mark Bulgutch, former CBC producer, comes a collection of first-person stories about remarkable Canadians who embody the values of our great nation--kindness, compassion, courage, and freedom--and inspire us to do the same.
In this timely and heartwarming volume of personal stories, Peter Mansbridge and former CBC producer Mark Bulgutch bring together inspiring Canadians from across the country, who in their own way, are making Canada a better place for all.
Hear Gitxsan activist Cindy Blackstock describe her childhood in northern British Columbia where she straddled two communities--Indigenous and non-Indigenous--and her subsequent fight for equitable health care for all children as the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Meet Matt Devlin, the US broadcaster who found a new home in Canada when he got a job with the Toronto Raptors, and read how he helped calm the crowd when a gunman began shooting in Nathan Phillips Square after the team's NBA championship win. From the young woman living with Crohn's disease--and proudly modeling her ostomy bag--to the rabbi whose family fled Nazi Germany--and who now gives the benediction on Parliament Hill each Remembrance Day--Extraordinary Canadians celebrates the people who have overcome adversity and broken down barriers to champion the rights and freedoms of everyone who calls Canada home.
Featuring voices from all walks of life--advocates, politicians, doctors, veterans, immigrants, business leaders, and more--this collection gets to the heart of what it means to be Canadian. These stories will change the way you see your country and make you fall in love with Canada all over again.
- by Margaret Atwood
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A box set of Margaret Atwood's bestselling companioned novels, The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments.
In The Handmaid's Tale, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War and the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead's Commanders. Deprived of her husband, her child, her freedom, and even her own name, Offred clings to her memories and her will to survive.
In The Testaments, set more than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the Republic of Gilead maintains its repressive grip on power, but it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women come together, with potentially explosive results.
This beautifully designed slipcase will make the perfect holiday and perennial gift.
- by Geoff Kirbyson
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How the Winnipeg Jets became the best team in the NHL's most offensive era to not win the Stanley Cup
Foreword by Tom McVie
The Winnipeg Jets were decimated when the WHA merged with the NHL in the spring of 1979, losing most of the players who led them to the team's third AVCO Cup victory that spring -- Kent Nilsson, Terry Ruskowski, Rich Preston, Kim Clackson and Barry Long. They were only able to protect two skaters -- Morris Lukowich and Scott Campbell -- and a single goalie, Markus Mattsson. General manager John Ferguson used a patchwork of players for the first couple of years but after drafting Dave Babych No. 2 overall in 1980 and Dale Hawerchuk first overall the year after, he had the core around which he would build his team for the rest of the decade.
Praise for The Hot Line: How the Legendary Trio of Hull, Hedberg and Nilsson Transformed Hockey and Led the Winnipeg Jets to Greatness: "A book about (The Hot Line) was long overdue and Winnipeg journalist Geoff Kirbyson has risen to the challenge." -- Winnipeg Free Press "Winnipeg produces great lines. In literature Miriam Toews-David Bergen-Gabrielle Roy. In journalism: Carol Off-Jim Coleman-Marshall McLuhan. In music: Bif Naked-John K. Samson-Daniel Greaves. But the line of lines in Winnipeg belongs to hockey. Thank you Geoff Kirbyson for The Hot Line." -- Ron MacLean, Hockey Night in Canada
- by Michael Posner
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The extraordinary life of one of the world's greatest music and literary icons, in the words of those who knew him best.
Poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, artist, prophet, icon--there has never been a figure like Leonard Cohen. He was a true giant in contemporary western culture, entertaining and inspiring people everywhere with his work. From his groundbreaking and bestselling novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, to timeless songs such as "Suzanne," "Dance Me to the End of Love," and "Hallelujah," Cohen is a cherished artist. His death in 2016 was felt around the world by the many fans and followers who would miss his warmth, humour, intellect, and piercing insights.
Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories chronicles the full breadth of his extraordinary life. The first of three volumes--The Early Years--follows him from his boyhood in Montreal to university, and his burgeoning literary career to the world of music, culminating with his first international tour in 1970.
Through the voices of those who knew him best--family and friends, colleagues and contemporaries, rivals, business partners, and his many lovers--the book probes deeply into both Cohen's public and private life. It also paints a portrait of an era, the social, cultural, and political revolutions that shook the 1960s.
In this revealing and entertaining first volume, bestselling author and biographer Michael Posner draws on hundreds of interviews to reach beyond the Cohen of myth and reveal the unique, complex, and compelling figure of the real man.
- by Andre Alexis
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A career-spanning collection of stories from the author of Fifteen Dogs, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and Canada Reads.
Vivid, profound, moving, and with moments of sly humour, the stories in The Night Piece reveal worlds both familiar and deeply strange. Drawing from Alexis's acclaimed debut collection, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa, and the highly original Beauty and Sadness, and including previously uncollected stories, here is the surreal and brilliant short fiction of André Alexis--one of Canada's most extraordinary writers.
With an Afterword by Madeleine Thien