Other Writing


A short list of some of the year’s most interesting, thought-provoking fiction, some of which grabbed headlines, some of which you may have missed, by Emily Donaldson and Alex Good. Read more…


The Quarry, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, And Sons among Toronto Star reviewers’ top 20. Read more…

By Emily Donaldson and Alex Good

CANADA by Richard Ford (HarperCollins, $29.99, 432 pages)

If “Canada by Richard Ford” were a designer cologne, it would smell like haplessness and desperation mixed with a handful of Saskatchewan soil. Set in the 1960s, this novel about a teen from Montana who flees to Canada after his parents are jailed for a bank robbery gone awry bears all the subtle, aching virtuosity of Ford’s best work. —Emily Donaldson

WAGING HEAVY PEACE by Neil Young (Blue Rider Press, $31.50, 512 pages)

This isn’t the best written memoir you’ll ever read, but I challenge you to find one that’s as authentic, unfiltered and idiosyncratic. Those hoping for a soak in the nostalgia-tub won’t be disappointed: Young has anecdotes aplenty about his ’60s and ’70s heyday. What surprises is how much his passionate focus on his entrepreneurial pursuits—which include a zero-emissions car and a near master-quality digital music player—reveals a rock icon determined to live so squarely in the future. —Emily Donaldson   Read more…

By Emily Donaldson and Alex Good

Fall is to the book business as summer is to the film industry, with publishers launching their biggest potential blockbusters to take advantage of festival season and prime the pumps for Christmas shopping. The season is looking particularly promising fiction-wise, so much so that we had to bump a number of notables — Michael Chabon, Shauna Singh-Baldwin, Barbara Kingsolver, Martin Amis, David Foster Wallace and M.G. Vassanji among them —in order to balance out our list with dashes of memoir, non-fiction and a graphic novel. Here are some of the most anticipated and interesting titles coming soon to a bookstore near you:

1. DEAR LIFE by Alice Munro. Douglas Gibson, $32.99, October, 336 pages

A new collection of Alice Munro stories is, like the birth of an exotic animal in captivity, always cause for celebration. The 81-year-old author’s cautionary tales of girls and women who fall victim to their own unworldliness or bad decisions bear out, yet again, the endless hyperbole. ED Read more…

Gwethalyn Graham’s EARTH AND HIGH HEAVEN

Time has not been particularly kind to the Canadian social-realist fiction that emerged post-war during the late 1940s and early 50s. Eclipsed by the stars of subsequent decades—the Gallants, Munroes, Richlers, Atwoods: you know them—the novels of this time have largely come to be seen as stepping stones to the literary riches yet to come. Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes earns most of its keep these days as a hoary catchphrase in politics and the media, perhaps because the racket caused by the novel’s self-conscious mythmaking and ethnographic didacticism make actually reading it hard going. Morley Callaghan, likewise, still gets lip service as a Canadian Writer of Importance, but few people seem to be able to stomach his individual novels anymore. Read more…