Triptoes’s Top Five Favourite Canadian Books
If you’re planning a family holiday to Canada, you may well be looking forward to the chance to let the kids run wild in the fresh Canadian air whilst you immerse yourself in a good book. What better to read than a book about the country you are holidaying in?
To help begin your reading list, Triptoes have narrowed down five of our favourite Canadian books to give you some ideas.
1) Anne of Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery
Everyone’s favourite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realises that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.
2) The Shipping News: Annie Proulx
Annie Proulx’s highly acclaimed, international bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Quoyle is a hapless, hopeless hack journalist living and working in New York. When his no-good wife is killed in a spectacular road accident, Quoyle heads for the land of his forefathers — the remotest corner of far-flung Newfoundland. With ‘the aunt’ and his delinquent daughters — Bunny and Sunshine — in tow, Quoyle finds himself part of an unfolding, exhilarating Atlantic drama. ‘The Shipping News’ is an irresistible comedy of human life and possibility.
3) The Cat’s Eye: Margaret Atwood
Elaine Risley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood – unbearable betrayals and cruelties – surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for forty years. A tale of the relationship between school bully and victim and winner of the 2000 Booker Prize
4) The Birth House: Ami McKay
Spanning the 20th century Ami McKay takes a primitive and superstitious rural community in Nova Scotia and creates a rich tableau of characters to tell the story of childbirth from its most secretive early practices to modern maternity as we know it.
As a child in the small village of Scot’s Bay, Dora Rare – the first female in five generations of Rares – is befriended by Miss Babineau, an elderly midwife with a kitchen filled with folk remedies and a talent for telling tales. Dora becomes her apprentice at the outset of World War I, and together they help women through difficult births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling marriages.
But their traditions and methods are threatened when a Doctor comes to town with promises of painless childbirth, and sets about undermining Dora’s credibility. Death and deception, accusations and exile follow, as Dora and her friends fight to protect each other and the women’s wisdom of their community. Hauntingly written and alive with historical detail, ‘The Birth House’ is an unforgettable, page-turning debut.
5) The Colony of Unrequited Dreams: Wayne Johnstone
Newfoundland, was a British colony from the early 1600s until 1948 when a referendum led to its confederation with Canada. The man who led the fiercely independent inhabitants to this decision was Joe Smallwood, the subject of this book.
Despite the predominantly historic emphasis, this novel successfully weaves the tumultuous life of Joe Smallwood into the narrative to create an truly entertaining tale set against the harsh landscape of the colony itself.
There’s no doubt about it: Wayne Johnston is up there with Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood and E. Annie Proulx. Another testament to the extraordinary strength of the modern Canadian novel.
For more ideas for a a Canadian book to read on holiday visit the CBC Canada Read’s for some fantastic ideas.
Let us know what your top five Canadian reads are…