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A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Open Book Award, and winner of the 2020 Giller Prize, this revelatory story collection honors characters struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the necessary "grunt work of the world." A failed boxer painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken processing plant. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. A mother teaching her daughter the art of worm harvesting. In her stunning debut story collection, O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance, and above all their pursuit of a place to belong. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and a sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values. As one of Thammavongsa's characters says, "All we wanted was to live." And in these stories, they do—brightly, ferociously, unforgettably. Unsentimental yet tender, taut and visceral, How to Pronounce Knife announces Souvankham Thammavongsa as one of the most striking voices of her generation. “As the daughter of refugees, I’m able to finally see myself in stories.” —Angela So, Electric Literature
WINNER OF THE 2020 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE WINNER OF THE 2021 TRILLIUM BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD, the PEN AMERICA OPEN BOOK AWARD, and the DANUTA GLEED AWARD #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER Named one of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020, and featuring stories that have appeared in Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review, this revelatory book of fiction from O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa establishes her as an essential new voice in Canadian and world literature. Told with compassion and wry humour, these stories honour characters struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the necessary "grunt work of the world." A young man painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken processing plant. A father who packs furniture to move into homes he'll never afford. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. In her stunning Giller Prize-winning debut book of fiction, Souvankham Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance, and above all their pursuit of a place to make their own. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and a sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values. As one of Thammavongsa's characters says, "All we wanted was to live." And in these stories, they do—brightly, ferociously, unforgettably. A daughter becomes an unwilling accomplice in her mother's growing infatuation with country singer Randy Travis. A former boxer finds a chance at redemption while working at his sister's nail salon. A school bus driver must grapple with how much he's willing to give up in order to belong. And in the title story, a young girl's unconditional love for her father transcends language. Tender, uncompromising, and fiercely alive, How to Pronounce Knife establishes Souvankham Thammavongsa as one of the most important voices of her generation.
WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE 'Spellbinding' i 'Breathtaking' Elle 'Powerhouses of feeling and depth' Mary Gaitskill 'Sharp and vital' Daisy Johnson An ex-boxer turned nail salon worker falls for a pair of immaculate hands; a mother and daughter harvest earthworms in the middle of the night; a country music-obsessed housewife abandons her family for fantasy; and a young girl's love for her father transcends language. In this stunning debut, Souvankham Thammavongsa captures the day-to-day lives of immigrants and refugees in a nameless city, illuminating hopes, disappointments, love affairs, and above all, the pursuit of a place to belong
Book Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book Description/Summary:
Censorship and book burning are still present in our lives. Lawrence Hill shares his experiences of how ignorance and the fear of ideas led a group in the Netherlands to burn the cover of his widely successful novel, The Book of Negroes, in 2011. Why do books continue to ignite such strong reactions in people in the age of the Internet? Is banning, censoring, or controlling book distribution ever justified? Hill illustrates his ideas with anecdotes and lists names of Canadian writers who faced censorship challenges in the twenty-first century, inviting conversation between those on opposite sides of these contentious issues. All who are interested in literature, freedom of expression, and human rights will enjoy reading Hill's provocative essay.
Winner of the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Selected as an Amazon.ca Best Book and for The Globe's Top 10 Books of 2013. With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady gives us nine unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last. A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can’t seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day. Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history.
In 1831 enslaved Jamaicans revolted. What began as a peaceful movement soon became a bloodbath as British troops retaliated. Tom Zoellner tells the inspiring story of the uprising that galvanized antislavery forces in Britain and led directly to abolition two years later.
Book The O. Henry Prize Stories 100th Anniversary Edition (2019) Description/Summary:
Now celebrating its centenary, this prestigious annual anthology gathers the twenty best new short stories published in the previous year. An Anchor Books Original. The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019--continuing a century-long tradition of cutting-edge literary excellence--contains twenty prize-winning stories chosen from the thousands published in magazines over the previous year. The winning writers are an impressive mix of celebrated names and new, emerging voices. Their stories evoke lives both near and distant, in settings ranging from Jamaica, Houston, and Hawaii to a Turkish coal mine and a drought-ridden Northwestern farm, and feature an engaging array of characters, including Laotian refugees, a Colombian kidnap victim, an eccentric Irish schoolteacher, a woman haunted by a house that cleans itself, and a strangely long-lived rabbit. The uniformly breathtaking stories are accompanied by essays from the eminent jurors on their favorites, observations from the winning writers on what inspired them, and an extensive resource list of magazines. List of 2019 winners: Tessa Hadley John Keeble Moira McCavana Rachel Kondo Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Stephanie Reents Alexia Arthurs Valerie O’Riordan Patricia Engel Kenan Orhan Sarah Hall Bryan Washington Isabella Hammad Weike Wang Caoilinn Hughes Souvankham Thammavongsa Liza Ward Doua Thao Alexander MacLeod John Edgar Wideman Prize Jurors 2019: Lynn Freed, Elizabeth Strout, Lara Vapynar
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, a searing literary debut novel set in India about mothers and daughters, obsession and betrayal “I would be lying if I say my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure," says Antara, Tara’s now-adult daughter. This is a love story and a story about betrayal—not between lovers but between a mother and a daughter. . . . In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her arranged marriage to join an ashram, embarked on a stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents), and spent years chasing a disheveled, homeless “artist,” all with little Antara in tow. But now Tara is forgetting things, and Antara is an adult—an artist and married—and must search for a way to make peace with a past that haunts her as she confronts the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar unpicks the slippery, choking cord of memory and myth that binds mother and daughter: Is Tara’s memory loss real? Are Antara’s memories fair? In vivid and visceral prose, Avni Doshi tells a story at once shocking and empathetic of a mother-daughter relationship and a daughter’s search for self. A journey into shifting memories, altering identities, and the subjective nature of truth, Burnt Sugar is the stunning and unforgettable debut of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
A wry and moving debut novel about friendship, the internet, and a young man’s search for true connection “A knowing, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of love, modern isolation, and what it means to exist—especially as a person of color—in our increasingly digital age.”—Celeste Ng, bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The New York Public Library • Parade • Kirkus Review Lucas and Margo are fed up. Margo is a brilliant programmer tired of being talked over as the company’s sole black employee, and while Lucas is one of many Asians at the firm, he’s nearly invisible as a low-paid customer service rep. Together, they decide to steal their tech startup’s user database in an attempt at revenge. The heist takes a sudden turn when Margo dies in a car accident, and Lucas is left reeling, wondering what to do with their secret—and wondering whether her death really was an accident. When Lucas hacks into Margo’s computer looking for answers, he is drawn into her private online life and realizes just how little he knew about his best friend. With a fresh voice, biting humor, and piercing observations about human nature, Kevin Nguyen brings an insider’s knowledge of the tech industry to this imaginative novel. A pitch-perfect exploration of race and startup culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship, New Waves asks: How well do we really know one another? And how do we form true intimacy and connection in a tech-obsessed world? Praise for New Waves “Nguyen’s stellar debut is a piercing assessment of young adulthood, the tech industry, and racism. . . . Nguyen impressively holds together his overlapping plot threads while providing incisive criticism of privilege and a dose of sharp humor. The story is fast-paced and fascinating, but also deeply felt; the effect is a page-turner with some serious bite.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “A blistering sendup of startup culture and a sprawling, ambitious, tender debut.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A highly anticipated debut novel from 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation honoree featuring a Korean War refugee who emigrates to Brazil to become a tailor's apprentice and confronts the wreckage of his past"--
Book Best Canadian Poetry 2021 Description/Summary:
“This is a book,” writes guest editor Souvankham Thammavongsa, “about what I saw and read and loved, and want you to see and read and love.” Selected from work published by Canadian poets in magazines and journals in 2020, Best Canadian Poetry 2021 gathers the poems Thammavongsa loved most over a year’s worth of reading, and draws together voices that “got in and out quickly, that said unusual things, that were clear, spare, and plain, that made [her] laugh out loud … the voices that barely ever survive to make it onto the page.” From new work by Canadian icons to thrilling emerging talents, this year’s anthology offers fifty poems for you to fall in love with as well. Featuring: Margaret Atwood Ken Babstock Manahil Bandukwala Courtney Bates-Hardy Roxanna Bennett Ronna Bloom Louise Carson Kate Cayley Kitty Cheung Dani Couture Kayla Czaga Šari Dale Unnati Desai Tina Do Andrew DuBois Paola Ferrante Beth Goobie Nina Philomena Honorat Liz Howard Maureen Hynes George K Ilsley Eve Joseph Ian Keteku Judith Krause M Travis Lane Mary Dean Lee Canisia Lubrin Randy Lundy David Ly Yohani Mendis Pamela Mosher Susan Musgrave Téa Mutonji Barbara Nickel Ottavia Paluch Kirsten Pendreigh Emily Pohl-Weary David Romanda Matthew Rooney Zoe Imani Sharpe Sue Sinclair John Steffler Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang Arielle Twist David Ezra Wang Phoebe Wang Hayden Ward Elana Wolff Eugenia Zuroski Jan Zwicky
Souvankham Thammavongsa’s third book of poetry, Light, examines the word that gives the collection its name. There are poems about a sparkle, about how to say light, about a scarecrow, a dung beetle, a fish without eyes. Known for her precision and elegance, for her small clear voice, for distilling meaning from details, for not wasting words, Thammavongsa confirms her gifts with these new poems. Light is a work that shines with rigour, humour, courage and grit.
From the author of Youngblood comes a “brilliant and daring” (Phil Klay, award-winning author of Redeployment) novel following a group of super-powered soldiers and civilians as they navigate an imperial America on the precipice of a major upheaval—for fans of The Fortress of Solitude and The Plot Against America. Thirty years after its great triumph in Vietnam, the United States has again become mired in an endless foreign war overseas. Stories of super soldiers known as the Volunteers tuck in little American boys and girls every night. Yet domestic politics are aflame—an ex-military watchdog group clashes with police while radical terrorists threaten to expose government experiments within the veteran rehabilitation colonies. Halfway between war and peace, the Volunteers find themselves waiting for orders in the vast American city-state, Empire City. There they encounter a small group of civilians who know the truth about their powers, including Sebastian Rios, a young bureaucrat wrestling with survivor guilt, and Mia Tucker, a wounded army pilot-turned-Wall Street banker. Meanwhile, Jean-Jacques Saint-Preux, a Haitian American Volunteer from the International Legion, decides he’ll do whatever it takes to return to the front lines. Through it all, a controversial retired general emerges as a frontrunner in the presidential campaign, promising to save the country from itself. Her election would mean unprecedented military control over the country, with promises of security and stability—but at what cost? “A passionate, scary, wise, and perhaps even prophetic novel” (Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried), Empire City is a rousing vision of an alternate—yet all too familiar—America on the brink written by a “preeminent voice in American writing” (Sara Novic, author of Girl at War).
The 14 stories in Exit Strategies explore the subtleties of memory and storytelling, masterfully creating the universal picture from the quotidian details. These stories do not shy away from difficult truths: a former actuary with a head injury which has robbed her of her mental acuity takes a job caring for a defiant farmer who is facing the decline of his body and his property; an elderly Belgian woman refuses to continue a road trip in BC when her soon-to-be-Canadian son and his dollhouse-obsessed girlfriend stop to help a stranded motorist; an intellectually disabled woman kidnaps three Black children and has the happiest day of her life. This collection gives voice to characters who are not always heard.
“In this wonderful collection of essays, Mark Jarman explores with wit and passion the practice of poetry―of making it, of reading it, of living it. In his vivid analyses of works by Brooks, Boisseau, Donne, Herbert, Rukeyser and Twichell, among others, he explores how the poems and their authors negotiate time and mortality, faith and devotion. He also offers an intimate examination of his own gorgeous work and how it comes onto the page. A delight for readers and writers of poetry.”―Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and Mercury The essays in Dailiness are about how a poet makes a poem. For Mark Jarman a poem results from a deliberate and conscious act. He is especially interested in the way human consciousness connects devotional prayer to poetry. In these essays he considers poems written millennia apart―from Gilgamesh to George Herbert’s work, from the poems of Robert Frost to those of Seamus Heaney, to his own recently-written poems and those of his contemporaries. As the poems celebrate the work of daily creation, they possess a religious aspect. In Dailiness Jarman sheds light on how poems accomplish this work. "An uplifting way to think about writing daily."―Chapter 16 "In 'Days' Philip Larkin writes, 'Where can we live but days?' Mark Jarman might reply, 'Where can we write but days?' Dailiness conjures up the quotidian, the everyday, the workaday, but also an elevated awareness of the present as we are in it mid-stream, and poetry as (in Auden’s words) 'a way of happening.' In these thoughtful and thought-provoking essays on the art and craft of poetry, from pronoun to metaphor, Herbert to Heaney, repetition to translation, Jarman rings the changes on 'dailiness,' calling us back to attention, writing as devotion."―A. E. Stallings, author of Like "A deep and wide-ranging knowledge/appreciation of poetry and the tradition―how the values and craft of poetry apply practically―are the foundation of Dailiness. Yet this is not a handbook or an academic study; rather, it is a true, personal, and entirely accessible account detailing how care, attention, and thoughtfulness lead to meaning. From the Metaphysicals to the Moderns and contemporary poets, from plays to pop lyrics, this is a devotional book―in both the vocational and spiritual sense of that word―by a master of the art, illustrating the ways in which poetry celebrates and illuminates being as an act of consciousness, and, moreover, how the making and understanding of poems are relevant to our lives in the moment, and perhaps in a life to come."―Christopher Buckley, author of Star Journal and Cruising State "'Daily life is the native country where we feel at home,' writes Mark Jarman in this elegant book. If we think of elegance in its root sense as selection and choice, we can find beauty in deliberation, 'the hours in the practice room' or 'at the desk.' Jarman’s elegant essays strike out profoundly from subjects like Gilgamesh and The Aeneid to the best devotional poetry and contemporary practice. This is a book to live with as much as to read. It will keep you coming back."―David Mason, author of Ludlow and Voices, Places
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE | A NEW YORK TIMES NEW & NOTEWORTHY BOOK | "His third appearance on the Giller shortlist ... affirms Bergen among Canada's most powerful writers. His pages light up; all around falls into darkness."—2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury | “David Bergen’s command is breathtaking ... His work belongs to the world, and to all time. He is one of our living greats.”—Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves From the streets of Danang, Vietnam, where a boy falls in with a young American missionary, to fishermen lost off the islands of Honduras, to the Canadian prairies, where a teenage boy’s infatuation reveals his naiveté and an aging rancher finds himself smitten, the short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. Following men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, surprised by love and by their capacity for both tenderness and violence, and featuring a novella about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen’s latest deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost—and how we might be found.
Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Winner Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist Part literary Western and part historical mystery, Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner Ridgerunner is now available as a paperback. November 1917. William Moreland is in mid-flight. After nearly twenty years, the notorious thief, known as the Ridgerunner, has returned. Moving through the Rocky Mountains and across the border to Montana, the solitary drifter, impoverished in means and aged beyond his years, is also a widower and a father. And he is determined to steal enough money to secure his son’s future. Twelve-year-old Jack Boulton has been left in the care of Sister Beatrice, a formidable nun who keeps him in cloistered seclusion in her grand old house. Though he knows his father is coming for him, the boy longs to return to his family’s cabin, deep in the woods. When Jack finally breaks free, he takes with him something the nun is determined to get back — at any cost. Set against the backdrop of a distant war raging in Europe and a rapidly changing landscape in the West, Gil Adamson’s follow-up to her award-winning debut, The Outlander, is a vivid historical novel that draws from the epic tradition and a literary Western brimming with a cast of unforgettable characters touched with humour and loss, and steeped in the wild of the natural world.
The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue's stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress. With rich historical detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to revolutionary New Jersey, antebellum Louisiana to the Toronto highway, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present. Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times.
“Ravishing… as if Saavedra were a modern-day Borges.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, O, The Oprah Magazine A novel of dark obsession, missed connections, and violent love. Marcos has just been through a divorce and moved into a new apartment. He feels alienated from his ex-wife, from his daughter, from society; everything feels flat and fake to him. He begins to receive letters at his new address from an anonymous troubled woman who signs off as A. and who clearly believes she is writing to the former tenant, her ex-lover, in the aftermath of a violent heartbreak. Marcos falls under the spell of the manic, hypnotic missives and for the first time in years, something moves him. Blue Flowers alternates between the letters detailing the dissolution of A.'s relationship, and Marcos' growing fixation with this damaged person. The letters become a kind of exorcism as both A.'s epistolary affair and Marcos' personal life reach a crisis point. Possessed by A., he is driven to discover her true identity. Blue Flowers is a dark portrait of desire, undermining accepted truths about love and sex, violence and fear, men and women.
Globe and Mail bestseller, The Boat People is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka's bloody civil war reaches Vancouver's shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the "boat people" are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks—and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada's national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son's chance for asylum. Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian who reluctantly represents the refugees; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan's fate as evidence mounts against him, The Boat People is a spellbinding and timely novel that provokes a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis.