We’ll skip the autumnal clichés about bounties of books and get to the point: The credentials of Canada’s best fall fiction writers are off the charts
Inspector Armand Gamache is back in Three Pines after a Paris sojourn in 2020’s All the Devils Are Here. The 17th book in Louise Penny’s wildly popular series, which has won seven Agatha Awards for mystery writing, comes out Aug. 24. In The Madness of Crowds, the head of homicide for the Surété du Québec is asked to protect a visiting professor with an abhorrent solution to the financial instability wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and, of course, there’s a murder to solve. > The other Penny drops Oct. 12, when the Knowlton, Que.-based writer publishes State of Terror, co-written with her friend, former U.S. first lady, Secretary of State and presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton, about a new U.S. president who chooses a political enemy as his secretary of state.
> Former CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre, who won the Giller Prize in 2009 for The Bishop’s Man, also ventures into suspenseful territory with The Winter Wives (Aug. 10), a psychological thriller about two long-time friends whose lives unravel after one has a stroke.
> Family is always the heart of a Miriam Toews novel, and this time the Toronto-based author – who won the 2004 Governor General’s Award for A Complicated Kindness, the 2008 Writers’ Trust Fiction prize for The Flying Troutmans and the same prize in 2014 for All My Puny Sorrows – focuses on three generations of women. Fight Night (Aug. 24), told in the voice of nine-year-old Swiv, is grounded by the wit and wisdom of her frail yet lively grandmother, who knows a thing or two about fighting for love, and survival.
> In Guy Vanderhaeghe’s first novel in almost a decade, the three-time Governor General’s fiction winner returns to the Prairies with August into Winter (Sept. 14), a story about a manhunt for a 21-year-old man-child, Ernie, who flees with his muse, 12-year-old orphan Loretta, after a heinous crime.
> Wayne Johnston, who won international acclaim for his 1998 novel about the late Newfoundland Premier Joey Smallwood, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, and the 2000 Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction for his memoir, Baltimore’s Mansion, mines his own family secrets in The Mystery of Right and Wrong (Sept. 21), a fictional work about child abuse, drug addiction and mental illness in a Dutch family that emigrated to Newfoundland from South Africa.
> Kim Thúy, who won the Governor General’s Award for French-language fiction in 2010 for her autobiographical debut novel Ru, comes out with Em (Sept. 28), also set in Saigon during the Vietnam War. When a homeless boy – fathered by a long-departed American soldier – finds an abandoned baby girl, he decides to raise her on the streets of Vietnam’s biggest city.
> And Governor General-award winning poet Katherena Vermette expands on intergenerational trauma, racism and family ties in The Strangers (Sept. 28), a follow-up to her hauntingly beautiful 2017 debut, The Break, which won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award.
The Winnipeg author, who is Red River Métis from Treaty 1 territory, has called it a book about “blood memory,” where female family members, although broken and alone, are still connected.