Fellside by M.R. Carey (April 5): I’m not generally someone who reads multiple books by the same author, but at the top of my anticipated releases pile this month is the next book from M.R. Carey, whose intriguing 2014 dystopian novel The Girl With All the Gifts surprised and wowed me. Here’s what you need to know about his latest: “Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s a place where even the walls whisper. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson – convicted of a murder she can’t remember committing – could be spending the rest of her life. But Jess won’t be alone in her prison cell. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost of the 10-year-old boy she killed. He says he needs her help – and he won’t take no for an answer.”
Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay (April 5): “Amidst the strange, silent aftermath of WWII in a small Australian coastal town, a widow, a poet, and a doctor search for lasting peace and fresh beginnings in this internationally acclaimed, award-winning novel. Anikka Lachlan has all she ever wanted – a loving family, a beautiful home, a natural purpose – until a random act transforms her into another postwar widow, destined to raise her daughter on her own. Now she looks for answers in the pages of her favourite books and tries to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to go on living.”
Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukeke (April 5): Historical fiction from a new Canadian author you are sure to hear more from. “13-year-old Aya Shimamura is released from a Canadian internment camp in 1946, still grieving the recent death of her mother, and repatriated to Japan with her embittered father. They arrive in a devastated Tokyo occupied by the Americans. Aya’s English-language abilities are prized by the principal of her new school, but her status as the “repat girl” makes her a social pariah – until a fierce, willful girl named Fumi Tanaka decides that Aya might be able to help her find her missing older sister.”
Rise of the Rocket Girls : The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt (April 5) “In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. For the first time, this book tells the stories of these women – known as “human computers” – who broke the boundaries of both gender and science.”
A Good Death: Making the Most of Our Final Choices by Sandra Martin (April 12) Good Medicine: The Art of Ethical Care in Canada by Philip Hebert (April 19): Last year, Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal rose to the top of bestseller lists, showing that people are interested in reading and thinking about the very difficult topic of end-of-life. This month, two Canadian authors release books that cover similar ground, with a Canadian perspective.