1. The Orenda By Joseph Boyden (Hamish Hamilton, $32)
No. 1 with a bullet – or with a sharply whetted knife, or with a white-hot iron poker. The violence in The Orenda is unflinching and hews closely to the truth of our country’s history. Joseph Boyden’s story of a Jesuit among the Hurons, which never shies away from moral complexity, is surely the newest inductee into the Canadian canon.
2. MaddAddam By Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart, $32.95)
In Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, where most of humanity has been wiped out by a “waterless flood,” the future hinges on the uncertain fertility of the Crakers, genetically modified humanoids whose prodigious genitalia turn blue when it’s mating season. But rest easy: Atwood tells Globe Books that, in her imagination, at least, those charming creatures can indeed breed, so this unfortunate tale will have a happy ending.
3. A House in the Sky By Amanda Lindhout (Scribner, $29.99)
For 460 days, journalist Amanda Lindhout was held for ransom by Somali insurgents, along with photographer Nigel Brennan. Through the beatings and violations, Lindhout imagined escaping to a house in the sky. Her story of resilience and compassion, co-written by Sara Corbett, is an Oprah interview waiting to happen.
4. The Silent Wife By A.S.A. Harrison (Penguin Canada, $18)
A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife is being hailed as this year’s Gone Girl. From the get-go, we know the marriage unravels and ends in death. But it’s the details – the husband’s philandering; his psychotherapist wife’s slow descent into murderousness – that hold the reader fast.
5. How the Light Gets In By Louise Penny (St Martin’s, $29.99)
Borrowing her title from the lyrics of Leonard Cohen (with the great one’s permission, we’re told), Louise Penny returns with the latest Inspector Gamache novel. According to Margaret Cannon, it’s yet another extremely strong entry in one of today’s finest crime series. Readers agree, proving once again that Quebec’s Eastern Townships, where the novels are largely set, appeal to everyone.
6. A Tap on the Window By Linwood Barclay (Doubleday Canada, $22.95)
7. The Son of a Certain Woman By Wayne Johnston (Knopf Canada, $32)
Young Percy Joyce, port wine stained/walked the streets of St. John’s named/freak of nature but that’s the half./His mother walked a queerer path./Bootylicious, desired by all/in love with a woman she did fall./But wait there’s yet another twist/her girlfriend was practically her sis!/Johnston’s deftly comic touch/keeps the novel from wanting much.
8. The Massey Murder By Charlotte Gray (HarperCollins Canada, $33.99)
9. The Lowland By Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf Canada, $32)
10. Ottolenghi By Yotam Ottolenghi (Appetite, $35)
If you’ve gone to a dinner party in the past year, chances are Yotam Ottolenghi and his massively successful cookbooks had something to do with it. The newly published Ottolenghi is actually a reissue of the influential London chef’s first book. It was followed by Plenty, which had us eating our vegetables, and Jerusalem, which flooded the nation’s pantries with pomegranate molasses. Now we can finally taste where it all began.