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Canadian Fiction – A Dozen Spring Releases to look for. Part 2.

Here’s part two of our two part post on up coming Canadian fiction releases: 6 more titles to watch for this spring.

Black Alley by Mauricio Segura: first published as CôtedesNègres in 1998 to great acclaim, this is the first English edition of a novel by a Quebec journalist. “In the CôtedesNeiges area of Montreal, the first stop for many new immigrants, live people of more than 100 nationalities. Marcelo, the sensitive son of Chilean refugees, and Cléo, a shy boy from Haiti, find friendship on the track, winning a major relay race together. Years later, in the same streets, two violent gangs, the Latino Power and the Bad Boys, confront each other, and their leaders must decide whether they will be united by their childhood friendship, or divided by race….” (Biblioasis – April)

Curiosity by Joan Thomas: the second novel from this author. “More than 40 years before the publication of The Origin of Species, 12-year-old Mary Anning, a cabinet-maker’s daughter, found the first intact skeleton of a prehistoric dolphin-like creature, and spent a year chipping it from the soft cliffs near Lyme Regis. This was only the first of many important discoveries made by this incredible woman, perhaps the most important paleontologist of her day. Henry de la Beche was the son of a gentry family, owners of a slave-worked estate in Jamaica where he spent his childhood. As an adolescent back in England, he ran away from military college, and soon found himself living with his elegant, cynical mother in Lyme Regis, where he pursued his passion for drawing and painting the landscapes and fossils of the area. One morning on an expedition to see an extraordinary discovery — a giant fossil — he meets a young woman unlike anyone he has ever met…”Thomas’ first novel Reading by Lightning was the regional winner (Canada and the Caribbean) of the Commonwealth Book Award for Best First Book in 2009. Her latest is historical fiction set in 19th century England. (McClelland & Stewart – March)

This Cake is for the Party: stories by Sarah Selecky: The first book from a young writer who has been involved in teaching other writers the craft for a number of years. The publisher tells us that the stories “[take] dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed” and that her writing is “reminiscent of early Atwood, with echoes of Lisa Moore and Barbara Gowdy, these absorbing stories are about love and longing, stories that touch us in a myriad of subtle and affecting ways.”For me, the title and the cover art alone are enough to grab my attention. (Thomas Allen Publishers – April)

Girl Crazy by Russell Smith: bestselling novelist, Globe and Mail style columnist and former Haligonian Smith is back this year with a much anticipated new novel. “Tightly plotted and fast paced, Girl Crazy is a cinematic ride through one man’s obsession with a younger woman. Justin, a dissatisfied community college teacher, meets Jenna and is attracted at once to her mixture of toughness, vulnerability and ripe sexuality. Jenna is unlike anyone Justin has ever known–through her he discovers a world of drugs and sex, casual violence and intimidation that at first frightens and then thrills him. Justin falls deeper into Jenna’s thrall, particularly as her erratic behaviour keeps him guessing. When Jenna ends the relationship abruptly, Justin finds he isn’t willing to let go of this new life, or of Jenna, without a fight.” (HarperCollins – April)

The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel: a new novel from another young up-and-coming author. Mandel is from Montreal but currently lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel Last Night in Montreal was released in 2009, Spring 2010 will see her second. The Singer’s Gun looks at whether we can leave the past behind: “Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear.” (Unbridled Books — May)

The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman: just released, another highly anticipated novel from a former Halifax resident. Kaufman’s 2003 novella All My Friends are Superheroes has developed somewhat of a cult following, and fans have been awaiting something else from the author. The publisher describes the novel as “A magical story of love and the isolation that defines the modern condition”. The National Post carried a profile of the author on the day of the novel’s release. (Random House Canada – February)

all quotes are from publisher’s press materials unless otherwise indicated

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