THE FALL 50

The Globe and Mail Metro (Ontario Edition) - - PURSUITS - Becky Toyne is the “Should I Read It?” colum­nist for Day 6 on CBC Ra­dio and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Globe Books.

Po­lit­i­cal tell-alls from Harper, Chrétien and Obama. New sto­ries from Knaus­gaard, Mu­rakami and Ta­gaq. Plus de­but nov­els of ro­mance, so­cial satire and fan­tasy – and that’s just the top of the sky-high must-read pile. There’s a book for ev­ery­one in Globe Books’ big fall pre­view

From Giller win­ners to po­lit­i­cal A-lis­ters, Becky Toyne se­lects

30 books to kick off a new sea­son of read­ing

Epic ad­ven­tures, love gone awry and al­ter­nate his­to­ries pep­per a fall crop of new fic­tion that is funny, un­set­tling and sad. Here are but a few sug­ges­tions from the many fine nov­els about to ar­rive in stores: Seven years af­ter her in­ter­na­tion­ally best­selling, Sco­tia­bank Giller Prize-win­ning Half-Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan is back with Wash­ing­ton Black (Pa­trick Crean Edi­tions, Aug. 28). This epic com­ing-of-age tale of a gifted boy born into slav­ery in Bar­ba­dos tra­verses mul­ti­ple con­ti­nents and en­com­passes ev­ery type of weather imag­in­able. A rich novel of science and art, of friend­ship and bru­tal­ity, it has al­ready landed on the long list for this year’s pres­ti­gious Man Booker Prize.

In his first novel since 2010’s Su­per Sad True Love Story (and since be­ing a ju­ror for Canada’s Giller Prize), Gary Shteyn­gart ( The Rus­sian Debu­tante’s Hand­book, Ab­sur­dis­tan) turns his satirist’s eye on mod­ern life – for a very few, very privileged – in Amer­ica. Lake Suc­cess (Ran­dom House, Sept. 4) opens with a Wall Street one-per-cen­ter flee­ing his mar­riage and autis­tic child … on a Grey­hound bus. Su­per sad, su­per funny, su­per Shteyn­gart.

For satire from our own side of the bor­der, try Randy Boy­agoda’s Orig­i­nal Prin (Bi­b­lioa­sis, Sept. 25). “Eight months be­fore he be­came a sui­cide bomber, Prin went to the zoo with his fam­ily,” the novel be­gins. Boy­agoda un­packs ideas of faith, fa­nati­cism and fam­ily duty, while pro­pel­ling read­ers to the fi­nal page to find out how his prophetic open­ing line will come to pass. Sal­man Rushdie thinks you’ll like it too: “Richly funny,” he says.

An­other novel-with-laughs: Search­ing for Terry Pun­chout (In­vis­i­ble Pub­lish­ing, Oct. 15). A smart, funny story about hockey cul­ture in small­town Canada, Tyler Hel­lard’s de­but is a King Lear for the Mar­itimes that has al­ready racked up ad­vance praise from Terry Fal­lis, Will Fer­gu­son and Stacey May Fowles.

One of lit­er­a­ture’s great mother-son re­la­tion­ships is back as Eden Robin­son con­tin­ues her ac­claimed tril­ogy that be­gan with Son of a Trick­ster in 2017. In Trick­ster Drift (Knopf Canada, Oct. 2), pro­tag­o­nist Jared is now in Vancouver, try­ing to stay on the wagon and keep all forms of magic at bay. Not so easy when you’re the son of a Trick­ster and your mother is a tough, no-non­sense witch.

And af­ter 13 years, Howard Ak­ler is back, too. The au­thor of The City Man re­turns to Toronto’s past in his long-awaited sec­ond novel: a love story built around the high­way that fa­mously wasn’t. Will the ro­mance end well? The ti­tle, Splitsville (Coach House Books, Sept. 1), sug­gests not. Years later, a fam­ily mem­ber will try to fig­ure out why.

Af­ter five pre­vi­ous vol­umes, le­gions of fans and reams of fawn­ing praise in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines around the globe, the epic strug­gles of Karl Ove Knaus­gaard are about to reach their qui­etly brood­ing, ex­ces­sively de­tailed, ut­terly com­pelling con­clu­sion. Se­ries ob­ses­sives should make space on their night­stands: The sim­ply ti­tled The End (Knopf Canada, Sept. 4) clocks in at close to 1,200 pages of Knaus­gaar­dian di­ur­nal de­tail.

If Nordic epics are your thing, Ice­landic lit­er­ary sen­sa­tion Sjon’s CoDex 1962 (Far­rar, Strauss & Giroux, Sept. 11) is wait­ing to step in when Knaus­gaard bows out. A tril­ogy nearly 25 years in the mak­ing – the three vol­umes were pub­lished in Ice­land in 1994, 2001 and 2016 but are be­ing pub­lished as a sin­gle vol­ume in English – CoDex 1962 was met with rap­tur­ous praise in Ice­land. “An ex­trav­a­ganza in which Bosch meets Cha­gall, with touches of Tarantino,” the Guardian says.

Cather­ine Ler­oux ( The Party Wall) draws in­spi­ra­tion from a real-life mys­tery in Madame Vic­to­ria (Bi­b­lioa­sis, Sept. 18). The novel’s gen­rebend­ing con­ceit of con­struct­ing 12 pos­si­ble his­to­ries for an uniden­ti­fied woman whose skele­ton was found in the woods is likely to ap­peal to fans of Kate Atkin­son’s Life Af­ter Life. This is bonus good news for Atkin­son fans, who also have her mys­tery filled, 1950s-set lat­est, Tran­scrip­tion (Bond Street Books, Sept. 18), to look for­ward to on the same day.

Other big-buzz fic­tion comes cour­tesy of au­thor/fraud­ster of A Mil­lion Lit­tle Pieces in­famy James Frey, whose Ka­te­rina (Scout Press, Sept. 11) is a sweep­ing love story al­ter­nat­ing be­tween Paris in 1992 and Los An­ge­les in 2017; cel­e­brated poet Dionne Brand, whose novel The­ory (Knopf Canada, Sept. 18) tells the story of an aca­demic whose in­tel­lec­tual pur­suits be­come chal­lenged by af­fairs of the heart; and ris­ing lit­er­ary star Waubgeshig Rice, who cre­ates an un­set­tling new re­al­ity in a snow­bound north­ern com­mu­nity in Moon of the Crusted Snow (ECW Press, Oct. 2) – per­fect for those who read Iain Reid’s Foe this sum­mer and are look­ing for some­thing in the same vein.

In John Boyne’s A Lad­der to the Sky (Dou­ble­day Canada, Nov. 13), a would-be writer sets off in search of the sto­ries of oth­ers, stop­ping at noth­ing to find them; while in Devin Krukoff’s Hum­ming­bird (Free­hand Books, Sept. 11), the pro­tag­o­nist, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing gaps in time, flash­backs and glimpses of the fu­ture, finds he is los­ing his grip on the story that should be his own.

Mas­ter of the un­usual and un­ex­plained Haruki Mu­rakami pays homage to The Great Gatsby in Killing Com­menda­tore (Bond Street Books, Oct. 9), a novel of war, art, love and lone­li­ness involving (pre­dictably in a Mu­rakami novel, but that’s part of the joy of read­ing Mu­rakami) a thir­tyso- me­thing man and many un­ex­plain­able go­ings on. And fel­low genre-blender Jonathan Lethem presents The Feral De­tec­tive (Ecco, Nov. 6), his first de­tec­tive novel since 1999’s Moth­er­less Brook­lyn

For genre-blend­ing that tran­scends the novel form, Po­laris-win­ning Inuit throat singer Tanya Ta­gaq com­bines poetry and prose, mem­ory frag­ments and fic­tion to tell a fierce and ten­der story of grow­ing up in Nu­navut in the 1970s. Her first book, Split Tooth (Viking, Sept. 25), strad­dles the line be­tween fic­tion and fact, and makes a nice segue into this sea­son’s no­table non-fic­tion of­fer­ings.

Per­sonal sto­ries and com­ing-of-age tales fea­ture heav­ily in this sea­son’s must-read non-fic­tion, run­ning the gamut of mu­sic, fash­ion, pub­lish­ing and pol­i­tics in terms of sub­ject. Cathal Kelly’s re­port­ing (for this news­pa­per) about sports is so en­ter­tain­ing that even if (like this reader) you don’t much care about sports, you may reg­u­larly read him any­way. His de­but mem­oir, Boy Won­ders (Dou­ble­day Canada, Sept. 25), about grow­ing up in the 1970s and 80s, prom­ises to be emo­tional, funny and packed full with nerdy ob­ses­sions and ill-ad­vised fash­ion choices. Also sports.

No poor fash­ion choices in this next book. “If you don’t take money they can’t tell you what to do kid,” New York Times fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher Bill Cun­ning­ham said. Is that why he never sought a pub­lisher for his metic­u­lously typed mem­oir? Dis­cov­ered by Cun­ning­ham’s fam­ily af­ter his death and sold at auc­tion, Fash­ion Climb­ing: A Mem­oir with Pho­to­graphs (Pen­guin Press, Sept. 4) is the un­told story of the street­pho­tog­ra­phy leg­end – a true orig­i­nal in fash­ion, pho­tog­ra­phy and life.

Nov­el­ist, non-fic­tion writer and pub­lish­ing leg­end Anna Porter has won ac­co­lades for writ­ing books about other peo­ple. Now, with In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time (Si­mon & Schus­ter Canada, Sept. 25) she writes about her­self. Porter – a Hun­gar­ian girl who grew up to be­come in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing Cana­dian sto­ries to Cana­dian read­ers – re­counts her life and work at the cen­tre of book pub­lish­ing in post-Expo Canada.

Scenes from the life of a Cana­dian cul­tural icon un­fold in mu­sic critic An­drea Warner’s Buffy Sainte-Marie (Grey­stone Books, Sept. 25), the only au­tho­rized bi­og­ra­phy of the le­gendary ac­tivist, artist and singer-song­writer to date. Bonus ma­te­rial: Fel­low icon Joni Mitchell con­trib­uted the in­tro­duc­tion. Mean­while, Dar­rel J. McLeod re­mem­bers an Al­berta child­hood and a for­mi­da­ble ma­tri­arch in his heart­break­ing mem­oir of re­silience and fam­ily de­vo­tion, Ma­maskatch: A Cree Com­ing of Age (Dou­glas & McIn­tyre, Sept. 15).

In Al­ways An­other Coun­try (World Edi­tions, Sept. 14), so­cial jus­tice ac­tivist Sisonke Msi­mang re­counts her child­hood in ex­ile in Zam­bia, Kenya, Canada and be­yond; her po­lit­i­cal awak­en­ing in the United States and Africa; and her dis­il­lu­sion­ment upon re­turn­ing to South Africa. In her TED Talk, which has amassed more than 1.3 mil­lion views, Msi­mang urges: “If a story moves you, act on it,” words that fel­low fall au­thors Vivek Shraya and Tanya Ta­laga will hope their read­ers take to heart.

In I’m Afraid of Men (Pen­guin Canada, Aug. 28), Cana­dian artist Shraya ex­plores how mas­culin­ity was im­posed upon her as a boy and con­tin­ues to haunt her as a girl. Shraya – a queer, trans woman of colour – sug­gests how we might re­think gen­der in the 21st cen­tury.

Ta­laga, whose Seven Fallen Feath­ers – about the deaths of seven In­dige­nous teens in Thun­der Bay – was one of the most award-win­ning books of 2017, will present this year’s Massey Lec­tures. All Our Re­la­tions: Find­ing the Path For­ward (House of Anansi Press, Oct. 16), ex­am­ines the sui­cide epi­demic in In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties in Canada and be­yond.

Books from three high-pro­file po­lit­i­cal fig­ures will ap­peal to read­ers of dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal stripes. In Right Here, Right Now: Pol­i­tics and Lead­er­ship in the Age of Dis­rup­tion (Sig­nal, Oct. 9), Stephen Harper (a.k.a. Canada’s 22nd prime min­is­ter) sets out a vi­sion for lead­ers in pol­i­tics and busi­ness to adapt and thrive in an age of dis­rup­tion, while in My Sto­ries, My Times Jean Chrétien (a.k.a. Canada’s 20th Prime Min­is­ter) shares can­did es­says from his time in of­fice (Ran­dom House Canada, Oct 23). In Be­com­ing (Crown, Nov. 13), for­mer first lady Michelle Obama shares her story. The Oba­mas re­ceived a re­ported joint ad­vance of US$65-mil­lion for their books. Ex­pect to be hear­ing about this one a lot.

Pre­fer not to talk about pol­i­tics? How about ev­ery Cana­dian’s favourite topic, the weather? In 18 Miles: The Epic Drama of Our At­mos­phere and its Weather (ECW Press, Oct. 23), cel­e­brated non­fic­tion au­thor and poet Christo­pher Dewd­ney ex­plores “the in­vis­i­ble rivers in the sky” that in­flu­ence our cli­mate. A bril­liant and witty jour­ney into our na­tional ob­ses­sion.

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