“In a single year, my father left us twice. The first time, to end his marriage, and the second, when he took his own life. I was ten years old.”
Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.
With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.
Madeleine Thien is the author of three novels and a collection of stories, and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Her most recent novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. She lives in Montreal, Canada.
Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution; of hope, faith, and unexpected heroism in the midst of chaos—and of one woman's heartbreaking struggle to keep her family safe.
It’s the fall of 1979 in New York City when twenty-three-year-old Anton Winter, back from the Peace Corps and on the mend from a nasty bout of malaria, returns to his childhood home in the Dakota. Anton’s father, the famous late-night host Buddy Winter, is there to greet him, himself recovering from a breakdown. Before long, Anton is swept up in an effort to reignite Buddy’s stalled career, a mission that takes him from the gritty streets of New York, to the slopes of the Lake Placid Olympics, to the Hollywood Hills, to the blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and brings him into close quarters with the likes of Johnny Carson, Ted and Joan Kennedy, and a seagoing John Lennon.
But the more Anton finds himself enmeshed in his father’s professional and spiritual reinvention, the more he questions his own path, and fissures in the Winter family begin to threaten their close bond. By turns hilarious and poignant, The Dakota Winters is a family saga, a page-turning social novel, and a tale of a critical moment in the history of New York City and the country at large.
"Molly Patterson is a writer of the first order, and her debut novel is a revelatory, immersive miracle. Ambitious in scope and exacting in its language, Rebellion becomes a grand exploration of fate and circumstance."—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus
Reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout and Jane Smiley, Rebellion is a powerful debut novel by Molly Patterson, weaving together the stories of four women unafraid to challenge the boundaries of their lives, spanning generations and taking readers across the globe.
In 1890, a young missionary, Addie, has traveled to the town of Lu-cho Fu with her husband, dreaming of making her mark on the world. But Addie’s desires change after meeting a brash and thoroughly modern woman, Poppy, who offers to transform Addie’s destiny. All the while, letters from Addie reach her sister Louisa back home, recently married and struggling with the quiet isolation of being a farmer’s wife. When violence erupts overseas between the Chinese and their unwelcome Christian intruders, Addie’s life takes a mysterious and haunting turn strongly felt by her sister, Louisa, back home.
By 1958, Louisa’s daughter Hazel is fighting to maintain control of her land and family in the aftermath of her husband’s untimely death. Reeling from the tragedy, she finds herself drawing closer to the neighboring Hughes family and in the process learns that grief takes on many forms.
One hundred years after Addie’s disappearance, Juanlan returns to her hometown with no job and no options. She finds her father ailing and her pregnant sister-in-law restless and angry. While her family and town are rapidly changing, Juanlan feels frozen in place. In search of an outlet for the live wire she feels buried inside, she starts up a love affair with a married man.
Interconnected by action and consequence, each woman’s tale brilliantly displays the fleeting intensity of youth, the obligation of family, and the dramatic consequence of charting your own destiny. A vibrant story of compassion and discovery set against a century of complicated relations between China and America, Rebellion celebrates those who fight against expectation in pursuit of their own thrilling fate, and introduces a rising literary star.
And so began my grandfather’s rapturous love affair with America—an affair that would continue until the day he died.
This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. It’s where his German grandparents—Frederick and Jette—found themselves after journeying across the turbulent Atlantic, fording the flood-swollen Mississippi, and being brought to a sudden halt by the broken water of the pregnant Jette.
A Good American tells of Jette’s dogged determination to feed a town sauerkraut and soul food; the loves and losses of her children, Joseph and Rosa; and the precocious voices of James and his brothers, sometimes raised in discord…sometimes in perfect harmony.
But above all, A Good American is about the music in Frederick’s heart, a song that began as an aria, was jazzed by ragtime, and became an anthem of love for his adopted country that the family still hears to this day.
When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills.
In a voice laced with insight and her signature sharp humor, Elizabeth McCracken has written an epic family saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America. Bowlaway is both a stunning feat of language and a brilliant unraveling of a family’s myths and secrets, its passions and betrayals, and the ties that bind and the rifts that divide.
Set in Cambodia during the regime of the-Khmer Rouge and in present day Montreal, Dogs at the Perimeter tells the story of Janie, who as a child experiences the terrible violence carried out by the Khmer Rouge and loses everything she holds dear. Three decades later, Janie has relocated to Montreal, although the scars of her past remain visible. After abandoning her husband and son and taking refuge in the home of her friend, the scientist Hiroji Matsui, Janie and Hiroji find solace in their shared grief and pain—until Hiroji’s disappearance opens old wounds and Janie finds that she must struggle to find grace in a world overshadowed by the sorrows of her past.
Beautifully realized, deeply affecting, Dogs at the Perimeter evokes the injustice of tyranny through the eyes of a young girl and draws a remarkable map of the mind’s battle with memory, loss, and the horrors of war. It confirms Madeleine Thien as one of the most gifted and powerful novelists writing today.
Finalist for the International Literature Prize and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
A Canada Reads Top Forty Book
A Globe and Mail Best Book
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction
Winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature
New York Times Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Named One of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review
Named a Best Book of the Year by Newsweek, The Denver Post, BuzzFeed, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly
Named a "Must-Read" by Flavorwire and New York Magazine's "Vulture" Blog
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.
Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.
Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
A magnificent and ambitiously conceived portrait of contemporary life, by a genius of realism
Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving--in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel--to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly separate narratives of All That Man Is aggregate into a picture of a single shared existence, a picture that interrogates the state of modern manhood while bringing to life, unforgettably, the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe. And so these nine lives form an ingenious and new kind of novel, in which David Szalay expertly plots a dark predicament for the twenty-first-century man.
Dark and disturbing, but also often wickedly and uproariously comic, All That Man Is is notable for the acute psychological penetration Szalay brings to bear on his characters, from the working-class ex-grunt to the pompous college student, the middle-aged loser to the Russian oligarch. Steadily and mercilessly, as this brilliantly conceived book progresses, the protagonist at the center of each chapter is older than the last one, it gets colder out, and All That Man Is gathers exquisite power. Szalay is a writer of supreme gifts--a master of a new kind of realism that vibrates with detail, intelligence, relevance, and devastating pathos.
Margaret Atwood, Gary Barwin, Dionne Brand, Fanny Britt, Douglas Coupland, France Daigle, Alain Farah, Naomi Fontaine, Dominique Fortier, Krista Foss, Kim Fu, Rawi Hage, Anosh Irani, Falen Johnson, Benoit Jutras, Alex Leslie, Alexander MacLeod, Daphne Marlatt, Lisa Moore, Nadim Roberts, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Chlo Savoie-Bernard, Anakana Schofield, Paul Seesequasis, Johanna Skibsrud, Karen Solie, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Larry Tremblay.
Guest-edited by Catherine Leroux and Madeleine Thein:
Catherine Leroux is a novelist, translator and journalist. Le mur mitoyen won the 2014 France-Quebec Prize and its English translation, The Party Wall, was nominated for the Giller Prize in 2016.
Madeleine Thien is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes, and three novels, including Certainty and Dogs at the Perimeter. Her most recent book, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor-General's Literary Award for Fiction.