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Literary Fiction

Find recent novels and story collections in our selection of literary fiction. Embrace contemporary topics and timeless themes with different narrative styles.

Violeta [English Edition]

- Isabel Allende, Frances Riddle

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER o This sweeping novel from the author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

"An immersive saga about a passion-filled life."--People


ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar, Real Simple, Reader's Digest

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.

Through her father's prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.

She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women's rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.

Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.

Mouth to Mouth

- Antoine Wilson

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ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022 * An NPR and Time Best Book of the Year * Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada) * Finalist for CALIBA's 2022 Golden Poppy Awards

A successful art dealer confesses the story of his meteoric rise in this "powerful, intoxicating, and shocking" (The New York Times) novel that's a "slow burn à la Patricia Highsmith" (Oprah Daily). "You'll struggle not to rip through in one sitting" (Vogue).


In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life--a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.

Jeff reveals that after that traumatic, galvanizing morning on the beach, he was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved, convinced that their fates were now entwined. But are we agents of our fate--or are we its pawns? Upon discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel's staggering ending.

Sly, suspenseful, and "gloriously addicting" (BuzzFeed), Mouth to Mouth masterfully blurs the line between opportunity and exploitation, self-respect and self-delusion, fact and fiction--exposing the myriad ways we deceive each other, and ourselves.

Two Steps Onward

- Graeme Simsion, Anne Buist

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Internationally bestselling husband-and-wife writing team, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist return with another smart, romantic adventure set on another of Europe's incredible pilgrimages. TWO STEPS ONWARD is the wise and witty follow-up to TWO STEPS FORWARD. It's about helping the people you love, and knowing when to let go. Figuring out what you really want in life. And seizing your chances, before it's too late.

Three years after life got in the way of their long-distance relationship, Californian artist Zoe and English engineer Martin have an unexpected opportunity to reunite: a second chance to follow in the footsteps of pilgrims in Europe. This time, they won't be walking the famous Camino de Santiago to north-west Spain but the less-travelled Chemin d'Assise and Via Francigena to Rome, along the mountainous paths from rural France. And rather than each setting off solo, they will accompany Zoe's old friend Camille--who, despite her life-threatening illness, insists she will walk the whole 1000 miles to seek an audience with the Pope--and her not-so-ex-husband, Gilbert, who sees the trip as a gourmet tour.

Then Bernhard, Martin's young nemesis from the previous trek, shows up, along with Martin's daughter, Sarah, who is having a quarter-life crisis and doesn't exactly hit it off with Zoe...

The Sense of Wonder

- Matthew Salesses

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From the author of PEN/Faulkner finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear and Craft in the Real World comes a "a smart, very meta take(Kirkus Reviews) on the ways Asian Americans navigate the thorny worlds of sports and entertainment when everything is stacked against them.

An Asian American basketball star walks into a gym. No one recognizes him, but everyone stares anyway. It is the start of a joke but what is the punchline? When Won Lee, the first Asian American in the NBA, stuns the world in a seven-game winning streak, the global media audience dubs it "The Wonder"--much to Won's chagrin. Meanwhile, Won struggles to get attention from his coach, his peers, his fans, and most importantly, his hero, Powerball!, who also happens to be Won's teammate and the captain. Covering it all is sportswriter Robert Sung, who writes about Won's stardom while grappling with his own missed hoops opportunities as well as his place as an Asian American in media. And to witness it all is Carrie Kang, a big studio producer, who juggles a newfound relationship with Won while attempting to bring K-drama to an industry not known to embrace anything new or different.

The Sense of Wonder follows Won and Carrie as they chronicle the human and professional tensions exacerbated by injustices and fight to be seen and heard on some of the world's largest stages. An incredibly funny and heart-rending dive into race and our "collective imagination that lays bare our limitations before blasting joyfully past them" (Catherine Chung). This is the work of a gifted storyteller at the top of his game.

USA Today's 20 Most Anticipated Books of Winter
Salon's 22 Books We're Looking Forward to in 2023
Philadelphia Inquirer's Best New Books to Kick Off 2023
Los Angeles Times's Best Books of January
Esquire's January 2023 Book Club Pick
Vulture's 30 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Winter
Chicago Review of Books's 12 Must-Read Books of January 2023
The Orange County Register's Most Anticipated of 2023
Powell's Picks of the Month
Book Culture's Most Anticipated Books of January
Apple Books's Staff Picks of January
Vanity Fair's 8 Books We Can't Stop Talking About This Month

Literary Hub's Best Book Covers of January

All the Colour in the World

- CS Richardson

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 GILLER PRIZE o The story of the restorative power of art in one man's life, set against the sweep of the twentieth century--from Toronto in the '20s and '30s, through the killing fields of World War II, to 1960s Sicily.

"Bold and resplendent." --Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid
"Supremely artful." --Toronto Star


Henry, born 1916, thin-as-sticks, nearsighted, is an obsessive doodler--copying illustrations from his Boy's Own magazines. Left in the care of a nurturing, Shakespeare-quoting grandmother, eight-year-old Henry receives as a gift his first set of colouring pencils (and a pocket knife for the sharpening). As he commits these colours to memory--cadmium yellow; burnt ochre; deep scarlet red--a passion for art, colour, and the stories of the great artists takes hold, and becomes Henry's unique way of seeing the world. It is a passion that will both haunt and sustain him on his journey through the century: from boyhood dreams on a summer beach to the hothouse of art academia and a love cut short by tragedy; from the psychological wounds of war to the redemption of unexpected love.

Projected against a backdrop of iconic masterpieces--from the rich hues of the European masters to the technicolour magic of Hollywood--All the Colour in the World is Henry's story: part miscellany, part memory palace, exquisitely precise with the emotional sweep of a great modern romance.

Tides

- Sara Freeman

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"Brilliant, elegant, and unsparing." --Emma Cline

"Irresistible... I read it in an afternoon but I'll be thinking about it for a long time." --Douglas Stuart

From an astounding new voice in Canadian literature comes an intoxicating, compact novel about a woman who walks out of her life and washes up in a seaside town


After a sudden, devastating loss, Mara flees her family and ends up adrift in a wealthy seaside town with a dead cellphone and barely any money. Mired in her grief, Mara detaches from the outside world and spends her days of self-imposed exile scrounging for food and swimming in the night ocean. In her state of emotional extremis, the sea at the town's edge is rendered bleak, luminous, implacable.

As her money runs out and tourist season comes to a close, Mara finds a job at the local wine store. There, she meets Simon, the shop's soft-spoken, lonely owner. Confronted with the possibility of connection with Simon and the slow return of her desires and appetites, the reasons for her flight begin to emerge.

Reminiscent of works by Rachel Cusk, Jenny Offill, and Sheila Heti, Tides is a spare, visceral debut novel about the nature of selfhood, intimacy, and the private narratives that shape our lives. A shattering and unforgettable debut.

Liar, Dreamer, Thief

- Maria Dong

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A young woman's carefully constructed fantasy world implodes in this brilliantly conceived novel that blurs distinctions between right and wrong, comedy and tragedy, imagination and reality: "Surreal . . . filled with technicolor lies and terrible truths" (Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling and Hugo-award winning author).

Most Anticipated by CrimeReads · Good Housekeeping ·
BookRiot · Goodreads · Bookish · OverDrive

Aardvark Book Club pick ·Good Housekeeping Must-Read Book of 2023

Katrina Kim may be broke, the black sheep of her family, and slightly unhinged, but she isn't a stalker. Her obsession with her co-worker, Kurt, is just one of many coping mechanisms--like her constant shape and number rituals, or the way scenes from her favorite children's book bleed into her vision whenever she feels anxious or stressed.

But when Katrina finds a cryptic message from Kurt that implies he's aware of her surveillance, her tenuous hold on a normal life crumbles. Driven by compulsion, she enacts the most powerful ritual she has to reclaim control--a midnight visit to the Cayatoga Bridge--and arrives just in time to witness Kurt's suicide. Before he jumps, he slams her with a devastating accusation: his death is all her fault.

Horrified, Katrina combs through the clues she's collected about Kurt over the last three years, but each revelation uncovers a menacing truth: for every moment she was watching him, he was watching her. And the past she thought she'd left behind? It's been following her more closely than she ever could have imagined.

A gripping page-turner, as well as a sensitive exploration of mental health, Liar, Dreamer, Thief is an intimate portrayal of life in all its complexities--and the dangers inherent in unveiling people's most closely guarded secrets.

Binge

- Douglas Coupland

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

The first new work of fiction since 2013 from one of Canada's most successful, idiosyncratic and world-defining writers, Douglas Coupland. He's called it Binge because it's impossible to read just one.
 
       Imagine feeling 100% alive every moment of every minute of the day! Maybe that's how animals live. Or trees, even. I sometimes stare at the plastic bag tree visible from my apartment window and marvel that both it and I are equally alive and that there's no sliding scale of life. You're either alive, or you're not. Or you're dead or you're not.

         Thirty years after Douglas Coupland broke the fiction mould and defined a generation with Generation X, he is back with Binge, 60 stories laced with his observational profundity about the way we live and his existential worry about how we should be living: the very things that have made him such an influential and bestselling writer. Not to mention that he can also be really funny.

         Here the narrators vary from story to story as Doug catches what he calls "the voice of the people," inspired by the way we write about ourselves and our experiences in online forums. The characters, of course, are Doug's own: crackpots, cranks and sweetie-pies, dad dancers and perpetrators of carbecues. People in the grip of unconscionable urges; lonely people; dying people; silly people. If you love Doug's fiction, this collection is like rain on the desert.

The Night Travelers

- Armando Lucas Correa

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Four generations of women experience love, loss, war, and hope from the rise of Nazism to the Cuban Revolution and finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall in this sweeping novel from the bestselling author of the "timely must-read" (People) The German Girl.

Berlin, 1931: Ally Keller, a talented young poet, is alone and scared when she gives birth to a mixed-race daughter she names Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Ally knows she must keep her baby in the shadows to protect her against Hitler's deadly ideology of Aryan purity. But as she grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep Lilith hidden so Ally sets in motion a dangerous and desperate plan to send her daughter across the ocean to safety.

Havana, 1958: Now an adult, Lilith has few memories of her mother or her childhood in Germany. Besides, she's too excited for her future with her beloved Martin, a Cuban pilot with strong ties to the Batista government. But as the flames of revolution ignite, Lilith and her newborn daughter, Nadine, find themselves at a terrifying crossroads.

Berlin, 1988: As a scientist in Berlin, Nadine is dedicated to ensuring the dignity of the remains of all those who were murdered by the Nazis. Yet she has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family's history. It takes her daughter, Luna, to encourage Nadine to uncover the truth about the choices her mother and grandmother made to ensure the survival of their children. And it will fall to Luna to come to terms with a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew about her family's past.

Separated by time but united by sacrifice, four women embark on journeys of self-discovery and find themselves to be living testaments to the power of motherly love.

Bad Cree

- Jessica Johns

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2024 CANADA READS SELECTION

AMAZON CANADA FIRST NOVEL AWARD SHORTLIST

A CBC BOOKS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

AN AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION ALEX AWARD WINNER

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A haunting debut novel where dreams, family and spirits collide 

Mackenzie, a Cree millennial, wakes up in her one-bedroom Vancouver apartment clutching a pine bough she had been holding in her dream just moments earlier. When she blinks, it disappears. But she can still smell the sharp pine scent in the air, the nearest pine tree a thousand kilometres away in the far reaches of Treaty 8. 

Mackenzie continues to accidentally bring back items from her dreams, dreams that are eerily similar to real memories of her older sister and Kokum before their untimely deaths. As Mackenzie's life spirals into a living nightmare--crows are following her around and she's getting texts from her dead sister on the other side--it becomes clear that these dreams have terrifying, real-life consequences. Desperate for help, Mackenzie returns to her mother, sister, cousin, and aunties in her small Alberta hometown. Together, they try to uncover what is haunting Mackenzie before something irrevocable happens to anyone else around her. 

Haunting, fierce, an ode to female relations and the strength found in kinship, Bad Cree is a gripping, arresting debut by an unforgettable voice. 

Undersong

- Kathleen Winter

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A vibrant novel about misunderstood Romantic-Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth, from Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter. "A stunning, spellbinding, poetic triumph." --Toronto Star

When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets Dorothy Wordsworth, he quickly realizes he's never met another woman like her. In her early thirties, Dorothy has already lived a wildly unconventional life. And 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. He quickly understands that his real responsibility is to keep an eye on Dorothy. The unlikely pair of misfits soon form a sympathetic bond, despite the chasm in social class between them, and Dixon becomes the quiet witness to everyday life among Dorothy's glittering social circle, which includes literary legends Samuel Coleridge, Thomas de Quincy, and William Blake.
 
Through the fictional James Dixon, 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--that of a woman determined, against all odds, to exist on her own terms.

August Into Winter

- Guy Vanderhaeghe

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

WINNER of the 2022 Glengarry Book Award

The first novel in nearly a decade from the three-time Governor General's Award-winning author of The Last Crossing, August Into Winter is an epic story of crime and retribution, of war and its long shadow, and of the redemptive possibilities of love.


You carried the past into the future on your back, its knees and arms hugging you tighter with every step.

It is 1939, with the world on the brink of global war, when Constable Hotchkiss confronts the spoiled, narcissistic man-child Ernie Sickert about a rash of disturbing pranks in their small prairie town. Outraged and cornered, Ernie commits an act of unspeakable violence, setting in motion a course of events that will change forever the lives of all in his wake.

With Loretta Pipe--the scrappy twelve-year-old he idealizes as the love of his life--in tow, Ernie flees town. In close pursuit is Corporal Cooper, who enlists the aid of two brothers, veterans of World War One: Jack, a sensitive, spiritual man with a potential for brutal violence; and angry, impetuous Dill, still recovering from the premature death of his wife who, while on her deathbed, developed an inexplicable obsession with the then-teenaged Ernie Sickert.

When a powerful storm floods the prairie roads, wreaking havoc, Ernie and Loretta take shelter in a one-room schoolhouse where they are discovered by the newly arrived teacher, Vidalia Taggart. Vidalia has her own haunted past, one that has driven her to this stark and isolated place with only the journals of her lover Dov, recently killed in the Spanish Civil War, for company. Dill, arriving at the schoolhouse on Ernie's trail, falls hard and fast for Vidalia--but questions whether he can compete with the impossible ideal of a dead man.

Guy Vanderhaeghe, writing at the height of his celebrated powers, has crafted a tale of unrelenting suspense against a backdrop of great moral searching and depth. His is a canvas of lavish, indelible detail: of character, of landscape, of history--in all their searing beauty but all their ugliness, too. Vanderhaeghe does not shrink from the corruption, cruelty, and treachery that pervade the world. Yet even in his clear-eyed depiction of evil--a depiction that frequently and delightfully turns darkly comic--he will not deny the possibility of love, of light. With August Into Winter, Guy Vanderhaeghe has given us a masterfully told, masterfully timed story for our own troubled hearts.

The Bandit Queens

- Parini Shroff

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GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK o A young Indian woman finds the false rumors that she killed her husband surprisingly useful--until other women in the village start asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands--in this razor-sharp debut.

"A radically feel-good story about the murder of no-good husbands by a cast of unsinkable women."--The New York Times Book Review

Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal o A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Shondaland, She Reads, CrimeReads

Five years ago, Geeta lost her no-good husband. As in, she actually lost him--he walked out on her and she has no idea where he is. But in her remote village in India, rumor has it that Geeta killed him. And it's a rumor that just won't die.

It turns out that being known as a "self-made" widow comes with some perks. No one messes with her, harasses her, or tries to control (ahem, marry) her. It's even been good for business; no one dares to not buy her jewelry.

Freedom must look good on Geeta, because now other women are asking for her "expertise," making her an unwitting consultant for husband disposal.

And not all of them are asking nicely.

With Geeta's dangerous reputation becoming a double-edged sword, she has to find a way to protect the life she's built--but even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry. What happens next sets in motion a chain of events that will change everything, not just for Geeta, but for all the women in their village.

Filled with clever criminals, second chances, and wry and witty women, Parini Shroff's The Bandit Queens is a razor-sharp debut of humor and heart that readers won't soon forget.

Sam

- Allegra Goodman

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READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY o "I've been an Allegra Goodman fan for years, but Sam is hands down my new favorite. I loved this powerful and endearing portrait of a girl who must summon deep within herself the grit and wisdom to grow up."--Lily King, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE o What happens to a girl's sense of joy and belonging--to her belief in herself--as she becomes a woman? This unforgettable portrait of coming-of-age offers subtle yet powerful reflections on class, parenthood, addiction, lust, and the irrepressible power of dreams.


A VOGUE AND REAL SIMPLE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR


"There is a girl, and her name is Sam." So begins Allegra Goodman's moving and wise new novel.

Sam is seven years old and living in Beverly, Massachusetts. She adores her father, though he isn't around much. Her mother struggles to make ends meet, and never fails to remind Sam that if she studies hard and acts responsibly, adulthood will be easier--more secure and comfortable. But comfort and security are of little interest to Sam. She doesn't fit in at school, where the other girls have the right shade of blue jeans and don't question the rules. She doesn't care about jeans or rules. All she wants to climb. Hanging from the highest limbs of the tallest trees, scaling the side of a building, Sam feels free.

As a teenager, Sam begins to doubt herself. She yearns to be noticed, even as she wants to disappear. When her climbing coach takes an interest in her, his attention is more complicated than she anticipated. She resents her father's erratic behavior, but she grieves after he's gone. And she resists her mother's attempts to plan for her future, even as that future draws closer.

The simplicity of this tender, emotionally honest novel is what makes it so powerful. Sam by Allegra Goodman will break your heart, but will also leave you full of hope.

Bewilderment

- Richard Powers

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A NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
A NEW YORK TIMES 2021 NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A 2021 GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK
AN INDIGO BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
 
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Overstory, an intimate and moving novel that asks an essential question: what are we doing to our children?

Theo Byrne is a promising young astrobiologist who searches for life on other planets. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old boy. His son, Robin, is funny, loving, and filled with plans. He thinks and feels deeply, and can spend hours painting elaborate pictures of the endangered animals he loves. He's also on the verge of being expelled from third grade for smashing his friend's face with a thermos.

What can a father do when the only solution offered to his rare and troubled son is to put him on psychoactive drugs? What can he say when his son comes to him wanting an explanation for a world that is clearly in love with its own destruction? All he can do is take the boy with him to imaginary planets, while and help him in his desperate campaign to save this one.

This is a selection of our current Literary Fiction titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

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