This remarkable book is about two young people in Washington DC. Niro is a 17-year-old African-American who is graduating from High School and then on to Harvard. But Niro has a painful secret – he is gay, a wicked abomination to his conservative Nigerian parents. Niro’s best friend is Meredith but she is unable to provide Niro with the help and support that he needs. Niro is emotionally lost and conflicted with heartbreaking self-loathing and his relationship with Meredith comes to a tragic ending: powerful storytelling.
From the list of “12 under-rated Canadian novels”, this is a gritty novel about the aftermath of the death by suicide of a gay teenaged high school student, as revealed by multiple points of view. Mayr is a Calgary writer and this book is excellent albeit heart wrenching.
This book provides a demoralizing and disturbing view of young people in small-town Canada. Life is particularly dismal for Jude as a gay teenager who is bullied. This is an important book to read but it will be uncomfortable (but Ru still deserves to have won the Canada Reads competition).
This is really excellent writing. At its core, this is a love story, an affair between two women but with complications. First, it is 1920s London, and second, one of the women is married. After a tragic accident, the psychological cost of maintaining a relationship is described vividly, particularly the madness associated with crime and punishment.
An intriguing first book by a writer I encountered at WordFest, Kim Fu. The story is about 4 siblings in a Chinese-Canadian family, 3 sisters and Peter with emerging trans-gender issues. Beautifully written about a complex issue.
Another book from the CBC list; also Whittall was at a Walrus Talks panel discussion at Blue Metropolis. This is a relationship book about 20-somethings that is not preoccupied by drugs. Notably, there is a central trans-gender character, and this characteristic is treated without emphasis, just as it should be.
A fierce story of Mala, a multi-layered individual: fiercely protective of her sister after her mother leaves; driven to murder by sexual abuse by her father; an interesting issue of her sanity when she is institutionalized. A book filled with vivid characters. (This is also on the CBC list; last month I recommended Valmiki’s Daughter)