Throughout July and August we celebrated Canadian authors and storytelling initiatives as part of our Canada 150 programming. As part of these celebrations, we asked for your feedback on social media regarding your favorite Canadian authors and titles. We searched for answers to questions such as Which Canadian book means the most to you and why?
February by Lisa Moore
Lisa Moore’s February was one of your selected titles (it was also longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize). Moore is an award winning author and has been nominated for the Giller Prize (among others) several times. She was born in St. John’s Newfoundland, and often incorporates elements relating to this heritage in her work. February is a story of grief, of preoccupation with the past, and of renewal. The main character, Helen, lost her husband Cal in 1982 when his oil rig sank; all 84 men onboard were killed during this.
Adderson (2009) in her review for the Globe and Mail, writes:
“For these 308 pages, I was Helen, grief-struck and in love with my husband, furious with him, smashing apart the crib for the baby he would never know because he should have been the one putting it together, working in an crappy office, working in a crappy bar, raising my kids alone, betrayed by age, lonely, so lonely, and finally stumbling into love again….”
Sounds pretty captivating right? Helen raises her four children as a single parent, and reflects back on this time in her life in 2008, where her oldest son, John, discovers he is about to become a father. Meanwhile, Helen’s eye is caught by one of the carpenters working on her home. Author Lisa Moore weaves past memories with present moments, as the reader learns about Helen’s early life (including her wedding day) and other pivotal moments in her life.
Cat’s Eye and Hag -Seed: William Shakespeare's The Tempest Retold by Margaret Atwood
For those of you who enjoyed HBO’s miniseries The Handmaid’s Tale (Based on Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name) you may enjoy these other Atwood titles recommended by your peers! Cat’s Eye is about a controversial artist, Elaine Risley, who returns to her hometown for her art retrospective. This story delves deep into her life, as she reminisces of past experiences and seeks to understand her identity, as a woman, an artist, a daughter and a lover.
Hag Seed is Atwood’s most recent publication, and as the title indicates, it is a reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest…but it takes place in a prison. Theatre director Felix had great plans for his staging of the Tempest in a prison in southern Ontario. He intends to use the staging of the play to get revenge on colleagues who ousted him from a major Canadian theatre company years ago. This is a must-read for anyone who has visited the Stratford Festival in Ontario.
For more of your top general fiction recommendations (and some great reads) check out the list below!