In addition to new titles from big Canadian names David Adams Richards (Principles to Live By — May 17) and Madeleine Thien ( Do Not Say We Have Nothing— May 31), this month is chock-filled with great sounding titles from new and new-to-you authors from Canada and beyond. MAY I suggest one of these interesting looking books coming out this month?
I Let You Go by Clare MacKintosh (May 3rd): I’m getting very used to seeing books advertised as of interest to fans of Gone Girl or the The Girl on the Train. Here’s the latest, but it’s got a bit more than just publisher hype to support the idea it might be a big hit. A debut novel, but it was released in the UK in 2014 and became a bestseller: now it’s hitting our shores. “On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . . I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.”
When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall (May 3): A new book from British author Morrall, whose 2003 novel Astonishing Splashes of Colour was nominated for the Man Booker Prize. This one sounds very The Children of Men in its premise, but Morrall is sure to take us in new and interesting directions. “In a world prone to violent flooding, Britain, ravaged 20 years earlier by a deadly virus, has been largely cut off from the rest of the world. Survivors are few and far between, most of them infertile. Children, the only hope for the future, are a rare commodity. For 22-year-old Roza Polanski, life with her family in their isolated tower block is relatively comfortable. She’s safe, happy enough. But when a stranger called Aashay Kent arrives, everything changes.”
Perfect World by Ian Colford (May 7): Halifax-based author (and librarian!) Colford returns with his third book. “Tom Brackett has created the perfect world for himself: he has a good job, a perpetually supportive wife, two kids, a mini-van, and even a golden retriever. But then, his mental instability causes him to commit a terrifying act of violence.” Colford is a previous winner of the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award for his short story collection Evidence.
Company Town by Madeline Ashby (May 17): Fans of Canadian Sci Fi take note, this long awaited dystopian novel is finally arriving. “They call it Company Town–a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig–making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa’s front door.”
Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (May 17th): Physician, scientist, and writer Mukherjee returns after his 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Emperor of Maladies with an examination of genetics: its history and the implications of its advances. “Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.”
It’s Ok to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmont (May 24): The title kind of says it all with this book, a memoir of love and heartbreak that promises to be “a fierce, hysterically funny memoir that reminds us that comedy equals tragedy plus time.” “Twentysomething Nora McInerny Purmort bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Then she met Aaron, a charismatic art director and her kindred spirit. They made mix tapes (and pancakes) into the wee hours of the morning. They finished each other’s sentences. They just knew. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and married after his first surgery. They had a baby when he was on chemo. They shared an amazing summer filled with happiness and laughter. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms in another hospital bed. His wildly creative obituary, which they wrote together, touched the world.”
Happy Family by Tracy Barone (May 27): I’m intrigued by any book that describes itself as “mordantly funny” so this new novel — a debut — piqued my interest. “Trenton, New Jersey, 1962: A pregnant girl staggers into a health clinic, gives birth, and flees. A foster family takes the baby in, and an unlikely couple, their lives unspooling from a recent tragedy, hastily adopts her. Forty years and many secrets and lies later, Cheri Matzner is all grown up and falling apart. Ironic and unapologetic, she’s a former cop-turned-disgruntled academic, a frustrated wife trying to get pregnant, an iconoclastic daughter bearing war-wounds from her overbearing mother and the deeply flawed by well-meaning father who has been dead for several years. Thrust into an odyssey of acceptance, Cheri discovers that sometimes it takes half a lifetime to come of age.”