Next Year For Sure – Zoey Leigh Peterson

Next Year For Sure - Zoey Leigh PetersonThis is a fantastic book, a remarkable first novel that was long-listed for the Giller, and that, in my opinion, is much better than some of the books on the Giller short list. Full disclosure: this is a relationship book which everyone who reads this blog knows is my favourite topic. The story is about psychological intimacy, a couple that evolves to a consensual three-some and eventually to a four-some. The book is beautifully written with sub-headings like “Questions” and “Answers” and “What Kathryn Wants”. This is a delightful read about complex relationships with a brilliant ending – highly recommended, one of my best reads this year.


The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The Nest - Cynthia D_Aprix SweeneyThis is an entertaining story about a dysfunctional family, the Plumb siblings (Johnathan Franzen territory). The core character is the oldest, Leo, a prodigal brother who is charming but dishonest and deceitful. The plot has a number of surprising turns to make this a very enjoyable read. Leo’s siblings are variably desperate and entitled and conniving. This is another amazing first novel that is highly recommended.

An Uncommon Education – Elizabeth Percer

an-uncommon-education-elizabeth-percerThis is a remarkable first novel about relationships (my favourite topic): Naomi and her parents; Naomi and her childhood friend; Naomi and her fellow Wellesley College students. Parts of this book reminded me of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which is high praise.

Gracekeepers – Kirsty Logan

At the end of the book mentioned aboveGracekeepers - Kirsty Logan, Swyler is interviewed and gives a list of some favourite books with circus themes, and Logan’s remarkable first novel is from that list. It is some time in the future when rising sea levels have eliminated most land masses. Thus people are divided between the land lockers who live on islands, and the seagoing damplings. A circus troupe travels by boat; the sail becomes the big-top tent. And there is a marked plot change half way through the book that enhances the story – a very satisfying book.

A Pale View Of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

pale view of hillsThis is Ishiguro’s first novel (published in 1982) and has the features that characterize some of his later books: a curious early fact (in this book, on page 17) that is just odd, and that is explained much later. This story switches between post-WWII Nagasaki and later England. Enigmatic relationships between characters abound, and MUCH is left unsaid in this short novel. If you like/love Ishiguro’s later classics (Never Let Me Go, Buried Giant), this is a very worthwhile read.

Boo by Neil Smith

booSmith was a chance discovery by Sarah and I as part of an interview of three authors at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal. Boo is Smith’s first novel, and presents an imaginative view of heaven, a not very celestial place that is segregated by age. Thus Boo is in a unique hereafter for dead 13 year-olds. This book has wonderful story-telling.