15 FAL L MUSTREADS
The writers and need-to-devour books you’ll cozy up to this season.
A much-awarded Canadian novelist celebrated for her lyrical, haunting semi-autobiographical fiction, Camilla Gibb has stepped into the realm of non-fiction with This Is Happy, a page-turning memoir about what happens when dreams dissolve (in Gibb’s case, having her marriage fall apart while she’s pregnant) and the funny ways that life can rebuild itself. WHAT IT’S ABOUT “Whatever loss we experience in the present has its antecedent in what has come before. It’s also about the unexpected in life: what arises and how we construct a family out of the ashes.” WHAT IT’S NOT “I don’t want it to be seen as a gay memoir, because I don’t think it is. I think it’s a story of loss and life and family; the fact that I was in a samesex marriage is irrelevant.” WHAT INSPIRED IT “After my marriage ended, I hadn’t written a thing. Language felt very hollow; I couldn’t pin it down. I’d been reading Ian Brown’s Boy in the Moon, a memoir about life with his special-needs son, and it was absolutely extraordinary. I actually emailed him to ask how he found brightness in his situation, and he said that he didn’t have any answers but that I needed to write. So I began keeping a record of how things unfolded.” WHAT YOU’LL GET OUT OF IT “In my limited experience, people don’t ask me questions [about this book]; they tell me stories. That’s the most rewarding part for me: It makes people reflect on their own lives and the people they call family.”
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood The grande dame of CanLit is back with another dystopian tale, this time about an upside-down world where the good guys are imprisoned and the bad ones go free. (And, no, it’s not non-fiction.)
Purity by Jonathan Franzen Purity “Pip” Tyler (the allusion to Great Expectations is no accident) is on a journey to the darker edges of the virtual world, beginning with an internship at a South American Internet think tank. h
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg This epic debut novel is set in 1970s New York. It begins with a shooting in Central Park and ends with the 1977 blackout. It’s a cinematic, sprawling story of life in society’s underbelly.
Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving Juan Diego’s life begins on the edge of a Mexican rubbish dump and ends with him living the “Iowan dream.” What happens in between is a page-turning meditation on destiny, luck and love.