A Giller long-listed book and a recent Canada Reads contender: Muna is a widowed single mother who escapes to Montreal in 1986 from Beirut. What follows is a one-year struggle to find work as an immigrant, to help her son Omar adjust to a radically new environment, to survive her first winter, and to overcome marginalization and prejudice. A compelling story.
Category: Giller Longlist
Butter Honey Pig bread – Francesca Ekwuyasi
A superb relationship book set mostly in Nigeria with some Canadian content. The memorable characters: a mother with an uneasy existence with the spirit world, and her twin daughters. The twins exhibit a special closeness but also a requirement for space away from each other, especially after a childhood trauma to one of the twins. And one of the daughters has an apparition to consult with and offer comment. An interesting feature of the story is that the context is Nigeria of privilege. There is lots of Nigerian cooking too. From the Giller long-list.
Greenwood – Michael Christie
A sweeping saga of four generations of the Greenwood family, told more or less backwards from 2038 to 1908. What is most interesting in the story-telling is that the Greenwood family is a construct. Two orphans are raised as “brothers’ but have no biological ties; a “daughter” is rescued and adopted into the family under mysterious conditions. Even the name Greenwood is an artificial construct, a name arbitrarily applied to the two (unrelated) orphans. The story has a strong ecological focus, from the dirty-thirties to a global ecological disaster called the withering in 2028. Very strong character, a vivid description of place – highly recommended.