(Editor’s note: Part One can be found here and Part Two here.)
In May 2016, Jon S. Dellandrea came into possession of a box of the last effects of an obscure artist, William Firth MacGregor. The contents of the box chronicled a major, and long-forgotten, trial involving forgeries of the art of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case unravels the mystery of the greatest art fraud trial in Canadian history. Along the way, it also tells the story of a talented artist whose career might have been so very different. The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case: The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson Forgeries Book by Jon Delland, already sounds like something available on Amazon Prime for some binge worthy deep dive that will change our lives forever. Until then, Goose Lane Editions has the book version for anyone interested in the cool world of art fraud and weird yet true Canadian art history. (Please note: there is no Amazon Prime special on this subject as of this writing).
Together We Drum, Our Hearts Beat as One (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Willie Poll and Chief Lady Bird, is an inspirational story about a determined young Anishnaebe girl in search of adventure, while proudly demonstrating Indigenous resistance and ancestral connection.
When putting this preview together, I noticed a new fiction release from Coach House Books (you know, two fiction titles in the finals for the Giller Prize – no big deal) and wanted to just let two things stand to represent Pacifique. Firstly, the author’s bio in its entirety:
Sarah L. Taggart is a queer writer with lived experience of madness and forced psychiatrization. She has published short fiction in The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, and Journey Prize Stories. Her short fiction won the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction and was an honourable mention in The Fiddlehead’s annual fiction contest. She lives in Pito-one, near Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa New Zealand with her partner and their dog, Bagel, and is pursuing a PhD at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.
And then this blurb: “Pacifique turns the psychological thriller on its head, allowing madness to be a meaningful lens through which to see the world instead of a cheap plot twist. Taggart has created a stunning, smart and revolutionary novel here – one that forces its readers to see clearly what so often remains hidden. This book means so much to me. One of the best I’ve read in years.” – Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out On The Ground
“BC’s islands and coasts are another example of this, with unique flora and fauna, outdoor activities, old growth forests, and millennia of Indigenous history and heritage, which simply can’t be overcommunicated,” says Bill Arnott in a recent interview about his home, and the subject of his new book, A Season on Vancouver Island, (Rocky Mountain Books). The winner of the ABF International Book Awards, Firebird Book Awards, Whistler Book Awards to name a few, Arnott’s new book is a beautiful collection of images and short travel essays highlighting the fun, eclectic, and unique nature of this sometimes mysterious area of western Canada.
What’s cool about Saskatoon/Toronto writer Danee Wilson’s Murder at San Miguel, (Radiant Press) is that the main character is an archaeological illustrator, which doesn’t seem like the typical vocation of most Canadian novels. The author’s work as Assistant Director of a small archaeology company in the Basque Country likely inspired this decision. I guess we’ll have to find out.
Wildlife for Idiots, (Harbour Publishing), by Adrian Raeside is a new collection of funny animal cartoons. e of garbage-rummaging bears, squabbling eagles, philosophizing wolves, pre-handbag alligators, artistic elephants, shedding mammoths and many more from the animal kingdom. Sure to be a hit with idiots and the rest of the planet too.
What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled—and what if that’s not a bad thing? And what if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it’s possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics and to bring about liberation? The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha is an essay collection centring and uplifting disability justice and care in the pandemic era. Author Cyree Jarelle says “with reverence for the work of their contemporaries, elders, and the next generation of disability justice thinkers, Piepzna-Samarasinha sets out to honor, elegize, and create ‘disabled and chronically ill citizen scientists.’ The Future is Disabled will leave any crip saying, ‘I could be disabled like that.’
Like Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and just about everyone who has ever had any personal event of note in the city of Montreal, it’s rather a hard town to get over. So one would imagine that living there on purpose might also be an emotion-filled experience. Letters from Montreal (Vehicule Press) is a collection of letters edited by Madi Haslam. These letters in the anthology were curated in the book in the same order in which they appeared in the magazine to show a watermark of key issues affecting the city – and seeing how subsequent authors in the book tackled similar subject matter. In an interview with the Star, Haslam says, “We are in a rental crisis and it is having an impact on our culture,” Haslam told the Star. “It’s no coincidence that it’s mentioned in multiple letters.” A cool concept for a book that is certainly a reflection of current city conditions, should anyone be considering a move to the infamous city.
What does half a century of creativity look like? Completely different for everyone. For prolific author Di Brandt, it will look like a poetry book called The Sweetest Dance on Earth: New and Selected, (Turnstone Press) which culls material from her previous collections, and adding some new ones. Now for the first time, the diverse poetics of this celebrated prairie writer are showcased in one volume. From trailblazing intercultural and intergenerational engagements to revisionary explorations of gender, place and environmental consciousness.
dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s Danceland Diary (Radiant Press) is the story of Luka Dekker and her sister Connie are the inheritors of a secretive and disturbing family history. This disturbance goes back three generations to the disappearance of their great-grandfather. Their troubled mother, Lark, also mysteriously disappeared; and their beloved grandmother, who raised the two girls, had a life haunted by a traumatic event that is only revealed after her death. Luka’s quest for her mother, and for peace and love, is a disquieting examination of intergenerational trauma and forgiveness, set in downtown Eastside of Vancouver and the horrific pig farm murders, the seductive beauty of rural Saskatchewan, and the glittering lights of a famous prairie dance hall.
A long time in the works, Leading the Pack: 50 Years of Sudbury Wolves (Latitude 46 Publishing) will not disappoint the hockey scholar, casual fan or lucky gift-getter. As hockey gets a much-needed makeover, this book looks at this northern Ontario hockey town and its passion for its own team. More to the point, what did Dave Bidini think? “There are few cities that define what it means to rage against winter by playing Canada’s sporting gift to the world, but this expansive document of Sudbury and its Wolves is a treasure for anyone interested in the pure soul of hockey.”
What are your favourite books so far this fall? Let us know in the comment section. Please consider sharing this post with your favourite book friends. And remember, try to support independent bookstores this season and next season. They are integral to the continuously organic relationship between readers, publishers and authors.