The Globe & Mail’s Globe 100 Best Books of the Year list is out and we’re thrilled to see it populated with WCA authors. We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to all of the authors, and provide the Globe’s citations below.
The Best Canadian Fiction and Poetry of 2017:
We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night, by Joel Thomas Hynes (HarperCollins) – The winner of this year’s Governor-General’s Literary Award for English-language fiction, in which an ex-con embarks on a cross-country road trip with his girlfriend’s ashes, is “a potent and precise manual of how human disasters are made,” Alix Hawley says. “Hynes’s gift is in serving up the pieces of the story to fall as they will, leaving you to assemble the smash.
Brother, by David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart) – This powerful portrait of two brothers growing up in Scarborough in the early 1990s won the the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Writes Hannah Sung: “Brother is filled with moments of swagger and bravery, of recklessness and love that sparks against the dull pain of tragedy, which is foretold in elegiac descriptions of the landscape.”
Little Sister, by Barbara Gowdy (HarperCollins) – The owner of a Toronto cinema strangely and inexplicably begins to enter the body of another woman in Gowdy’s first novel in a decade. “It is fun and funny and can frequently startle you, breaking your heart with the lovingly observed minutia of everyday experience,” José Teodoro says. “Its confluence of the uncanny and the ordinary, of mischief and profundity, at times recalls the books of Haruki Murakami or the films of Woody Allen, but Gowdy’s use of quirk as an entrée into psychological depth is most closely akin to the stories of Lorrie Moore. Little Sister is all depth and grace and yet never more than a sentence away from a playful nudge in the ribs.”
The Best Canadian Non-Fiction of 2017:
Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster) – A memoir of moving to Verona to respond to letters sent to Shakespeare’s Juliet. “Dixon has gracefully entered into the tradition of travel writing meets memoir (think Eat, Pray, Love,) and despite his driving belief that he knows so little about the subject, he writes about love with admirable generosity, sensitivity and insight,” Stacey May Fowles writes.
Life on the Ground Floor, by James Maskalyk (Doubleday Canada) – The Toronto doctor’s latest memoir, and the winner of this year’s Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction, is a book that “captures the viscera, real and symbolic, of the ER – its sights, sounds, smells, pulse – without romanticizing the work,” André Picard writes.
The Whisky King: The Remarkable True Story of Canada’s Most Infamous Bootlegger and the Undercover Mountie on his Trail, by Trevor Cole (HarperCollins) – Rollicking historical true crime from an award-winning novelist. Says Taras Grescoe: “The Whisky King has got it all: poison hooch in blind pigs, liquor orgies with double-crossing dames, shootouts in chicken coops. This is superb non-fiction, by a writer at the top of his game.”
Birds Art Life, by Kyo Maclear (Doubleday Canada) – The novelist and picture-book author offers an introspective memoir of birding and the artistic life. The book, Stacey May Fowles says, “finds beauty and enjoyment in unlikely places, and contentment in the smallest things – from the flight of a bird to the love of a parent to the sweetness of a song.”
Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey, by Ken Dryden (Signal) – A deep piece of investigative journalism that chronicles the emotional rise and quick demise of one of hockey’s many tragic figures. Here, reviewer Brett Popplewell writes, is Dryden, one of hockey’s most celebrated goalies, “reclaiming his place among this country’s deepest sports writers.” To Dryden, he adds, “Montador’s story is the story of modern hockey. That of a grinder who sacrificed everything for the game.”
Anna Fitzpatrick’s Favourite Picture Books of 2017:
Seamus’s Short Story, by Heather Hartt-Sussman and Milan Pavlovic (Groundwood Books) – Hartt-Sussman takes an imaginative and lighthearted approach to this story about self-expression and gender identity, in which frustrated Seamus starts dressing up in his mother’s high heels in order to experience life as a taller person.
Yak and Dove, by Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro (Tundra Books) – Whimsical watercolours accompany this trio of tales about two creatures who are so different they can only be best friends. The sheer attention paid to world-building and background characters makes one hope this book is just the first in a new series.