Adventures in Canadian Content Part One: CanLit Lives

Tuesday is Canada Day!

Today’s theme is… CanLit! Yes, I do occasionally read grown-up books. 🙂 There’s a lot more to Canadian literary fiction than Margaret Atwood. Here’s a random sampling of some of the books I’ve enjoyed in the past while.

The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy The saga of a family of first-generation Chinese Canadian immigrants in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s, told in alternating points of view from three siblings. The inevitable culture clash of new immigrants and their Canadian children is set against the racial tension of the time and the beginning of the Second World War. (The sequel is All That Matters.)

The Way The Crow Flies by Anne-Marie MacDonald Madeleine’s idyllic childhood on a Canadian airforce base in the 1960’s is shattered by the murder of one of the young girls in the community, the truth of which is unravelled twenty years later. (No really, not as depressing as Fall On Your Knees, I promise!)

Unless by Carol Shields Forty-four-year-old Reta Winters, wife, mother, writer, and translator, is living a happy life until one of her three daughters drops out of university to sit on a downtown street corner silent and cross-legged with a begging bowl in her lap and a placard round her neck that says “Goodness.”

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden The story of two Cree boys, Xavier and Elijah, who enlist as snipers during the first World War. Xavier’s aunt, an elderly medicine woman, recieves word that Xavier has been killed and Elijah has been wounded, but when she gets to the train station, the young man waiting for her is missing a leg, addicted to morphine, and is Xavier, not Elijah.

The Outlander by Gil Adamson Mary Boulton is nineteen, and a widow. She has killed her husband, and has fled into the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, pursued by her husband’s vengeful brothers. But it’s 1903, and Mary is headed for the town of Frank, right before the first deadly Frank Slide at Turtle Mountain.

Running Toward Home by Betty Jane Hegerat When Cory, a twelve year old foster kid, is disappointed by his birth mother Tina at their annual visit to the Calgary zoo, he chooses to hide out overnight instead of admitting to his foster mother that Tina has cancelled their plans. Over the course of twenty-four hours, his disappearance is the catalyst that brings together the three people who care about him the most. (And yes, the author is my mom! Check out her shiny new website and her new short story collection, A Crack in the Wall.)

And then, of course, there is my inevitable-to-read list…

Up next… Canadian kids lit!


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