EVERGREEN™ 2016 NOMINATED TITLES

 


 
All Saints: Stories

K.D. Miller


Biblioasis


In a linked collection that presents the secret small tragedies of an Anglican congregation struggling to survive, All Saints delves into the life of Simon, the Reverend, and the lives of his parishioners: Miss Alice Vipond, a refined and elderly schoolteacher, incarcerated for a horrendous crime; a woman driven to extreme anxiety by an affair she cannot end; a receptionist, and her act of improbable generosity; a writer making peace with her divorce. Effortlessly written and candidly observed, All Saints is a moving collection of tremendous skill, whose intersecting stories illuminate the tenacity and vulnerability of modern-day believers.


 
Birdie

Tracey Lindberg


HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.


Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Bernice heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers but they are not the ones she expected.

With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Bernice finds the strength to face the past and draw the lessons from her dreams that she was never fully taught in life. Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women's experience, regardless of culture or race.


 
The Hunger of the Wolf

Stephen Marche


HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.


Hunters found his body naked in the snow.

So begins this breakout book from Stephen Marche, whose last work of fiction was described by theNew York Times Book Review as "maybe the most exciting mash-up of literary genres since David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas." The body in the snow is that of Ben Wylie, the heir to America's second-wealthiest business dynasty, and it is found in a remote patch of northern Canada. Far away, in post-crash New York, Jamie Cabot, the son of the Wylie family's housekeepers, must figure out how and why Ben died. He knows the answer lies in the tortured history of the Wylie family, who over three generations built up their massive holdings into several billion dollars' worth of real estate, oil, and information systems despite a terrible family secret they must keep from the world. The threads of the Wylie men's destinies, both financial and supernatural, lead twistingly but inevitably to the naked body in the snow and a final, chilling revelation.

The Hunger of the Wolf is a novel about what it means to be a man in the world of money. It is a story of fathers and sons, about secrets that are kept within families, and about the cost of the tension between the public face and the private soul. Spanning from the mills of Depression-era Pittsburgh to the Swinging London of the 1960s, from desolate Alberta to the factories of present-day China, here is a bold and breathtakingly ambitious work of fiction that uses the story of a single family to capture the way we live now: an epic, genre-busting tale of money, morality, and the American Dream.


 
The Jaguar's Children

John Vaillant


Vintage Canada


Hector, a young Zapotec fleeing Mexico for a better life in the US with his friend Cesar, a biotech researcher, pays to be smuggled across the border by unscrupulous "coyotes," concealed in the tightly sealed, empty tank of a water truck packed with illegal migrants. Abandoned by the smugglers in the desert, they are left to die, their only lifeline Cesar's phone. When Cesar slips into unconsciousness, Hector reaches out to the one name with an American code--AnniMac--that becomes his lifeline to the world as he reveals what has brought him to this place, taking us back to an older Mexico; to the lives of his Zapotec grandparents and the ancient, mythic traditions, to the mystery behind the jaguar icon left to him by a mysterious archeologist, and the power of the corn myth. As legends fuse with the terrifying present, the dangers Cesar is fleeing become grippingly apparent: his research was threatening to expose the country's largest manufacturer of genetically modified corn, set to impose economic and cultural genocide on the native population. Finding the courage to survive is critical, even as hope dwindles.


 
Local Customs

Audrey Thomas


Dundurn


Letitia Landon, "Letty" to her friends, is an intelligent, witty, successful writer, much sought after for dinner parties and soirées in the London of the 1830s. But, still single at thirty-six, she fears ending up as a wizened crone in a dilapidated country cottage, a cat her only companion.



Just as she is beginning to believe she will never marry, she meets George Maclean, home on leave from his position as the governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast of West Africa. George and Letty marry quietly and set sail for Cape Coast. Eight weeks later she is dead — not from malaria or dysentery or any of the multitude of dangers in her new home, but by her own hand. Or so it would seem.



Local Customs examines, in poetic detail, a way of life that has faded into history. It was a time when religious and cultural assimilation in the British colonies gave rise to a new, strange social order. Letty speaks from beyond the grave to let the reader see the world through her eyes and explore the mystery of her death. Was she disturbed enough to kill herself, or was someone — or something — else involved?


 
Punishment

Linden MacIntyre


Vintage Canada


Forced to retire early from his job as a corrections officer in Kingston Penitentiary, Tony Breau has limped back to the village where he grew up to lick his wounds, only to find that Dwayne Strickland, a young con he’d had dealings with in prison is back there too–and once again in trouble. Strickland has just been arrested following the suspicious death of a teenage girl, the granddaughter of Caddy Stewart, Tony’s first love.
 
Tony is soon caught in a fierce emotional struggle between the outcast Strickland and the still alluring Caddy. And then another figure from Tony’s past, the forceful Neil Archie MacDonald–just retired in murky circumstances from the Boston police force–stokes the community’s anger and suspicion and an irresistible demand for punishment. As Tony struggles to resist the vortex of vigilante action, Punishment builds into a total page-turner that blindsides you with twists and betrayals.


 
Seconds: A Graphic Novel

Bryan Lee O'Malley


Random House of Canada


The highly anticipated new stand-alone, full-colour graphic novel from Bryan Lee O'Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling (and Toronto-set) Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series.
 
Seconds is a complex and novelistic stand-alone story about a young restaurant owner named Katie who, after being visited by a magical apparition, is given a second chance at love and to undo her wrongs. Fans new and old will love O'Malley's bold and quirky style infused with his subtle, playful humour.


 
That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away

Lori Shenher


Greystone Books Ltd.

In That Lonely Section of Hell, police detective Lori Shenher describes her role in Vancouver’s infamous Missing and Murdered Women Investigation and her years-long struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of her work on the case. From her first assignment in 1998 to explore an increase in the number of missing women to the harrowing 2002 interrogation of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton, Shenher tells a story of massive police failure―failure of the police to use the information about Pickton available to them, failure to understand the dark world of drug addiction and sex work, and failure to save more women from their killer. That Lonely Section of Hell passionately pursues the deeper truths behind the causes of this tragedy and the myriad ways the system failed to protect vulnerable women.


 
They Left Us Everything: A Memoir

Plum Johnson


Penguin Canada

After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents—first for their senile father,  and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother—author Plum Johnson  and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when  their mother, the surviving parent, dies. Now they must empty and sell the beloved  family home, which hasn’t been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three  rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving  but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a  handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated,  extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes  her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined. Items from childhood trigger  memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake  Ontario in the 1950s and 60s. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her  reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were  and what they valued.
 
They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving  family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the  future.


 
Under the Visible Life

Kim Echlin


Hamish Hamilton Canada


Fatherless Katherine carries the stigma of her mixed-race background through an era that is hostile to her and all she represents.  It is only through music that she finds the freedom to temporarily escape and dream of a better life for herself, nurturing this hard-won refuge throughout the vagaries of unexpected motherhood and an absent husband, and relying on her talent to build a future for her family.
Orphaned Mahsa also grows up in the shadow of loss, sent to relatives in Pakistan after the death of her parents. Struggling to break free, she escapes to Montreal, leaving behind her first love, Kamal. But the threads of her past are not so easily severed, and she finds herself forced into an arranged marriage. For Mahsa, too, music becomes her solace and allows her to escape from her oppressive circumstances.

When Katherine and Mahsa meet, they find in each other a kindred spirit as well as a musical equal, and their lives are changed irrevocably. Together, they inspire and support one another, fusing together their cultures, their joys, and their losses—just as they collaborate musically in the language of free-form, improvisational jazz.

Under the Visible Life takes readers from the bustling harbour of Karachi to the palpable political tension on the streets of 1970s Montreal to the smoky jazz clubs of New York City.  Deeply affecting, vividly rendered, and sweeping in scope, it is also an exploration of the hearts of two unforgettable women: a meditation on how hope can remain alive in the darkest of times when we have someone with whom to share our burdens.