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A Twilight Celebration, Marie-Claire Blais, translated by Nigel Spencer (Arachnide): The eighth novel in Blais’s 10-book magnum opus, told in her signature stream-of-consciousness style, looks inward to the soul of the writer, something Blais knows about: She’s simply among the best writers working today.

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The Walking Boy, Lydia Kwa (Arsenal Pulp Press): It’s a little bit fantasy, a little bit historical, weird in the best way and will hold you like only a good yarn can. Read this or Kwa’s Oracle Bone first – you’ll likely want to read both.

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Broke City, Wendy McGrath (NeWest Press): The finale in McGrath’s portrait of the artist as a young girl growing up in working-class Edmonton, the Santa Rosa trilogy captures a young creative mind and a now-lost neighbourhood of the city.

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Agnes, Murderess, Sarah Leavitt (Freehand Books): A graphic novel about a legendary woman, a Victorian-era serial killer in the B.C. Interior, this is really about the ghosts European immigrants brought to what turned out to be not such a “new” world.

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The Girl Who Stole Everything, Norman Ravvin (Linda Leith Publishing): Set in Vancouver and a post-Communist village outside Warsaw, Ravvin’s novel is about what was lost in the Holocaust and asks how we contend with the crimes big and small that shape who we are.

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Rebent Sinner, Ivan Coyote (Arsenal Pulp Press): Coyote ought to be recognized as one of Canada’s great humorists, although often the stories are the laughing-through-tears variety. A lot of grit and a lot of heart.

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Swimming with Horses, Oakland Ross (Dundurn Press): Is it possible for a novel to be both a Bildungsroman about a sensitive Canadian teenager who loves horses and a noirish thriller about apartheid-era South Africa? Somehow, yes.

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The Hope that Remains: Canadian Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide, Christine Magill (Véhicule Press): Twenty-five years later, 10 Canadians share their stories of the Rwandan genocide, warn of the dangers of ethnic hatred and tell us where they find hope – something worth living for.

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Coconut Dreams, Derek Mascarenhas (Book*hug Press): These linked stories about the Pinto family – once of Goa, now of Canada – stick long after the first read. Each story is distinct – evidence of a great collection.

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Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian), Hazel Jane Plante (Metonymy Press): Plante makes it look easy, inventing an entire TV show as a device to talk about grief and unrequited love, but that is not easy at all. Super smart, and her debut to boot.

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