A retired teacher of Shakespeare takes a serum that reverses the aging process (Reliving Charley, Dean Serravalle, Oberon) and a retired hockey player drinks, flirts and takes some steps toward recovery (The Goon, Jerrod Edson, Oberon). A young hockey enforcer disappears to escape from his sins, and returns twenty years later to find that the only person he ever trusted has written a novel that mirrors his life (The Antagonist, Lynn Coady, Anansi).
One protagonist listens to stories of epidemics and murders and horse theft (Grandpère, Janet Romain, Caitlin Press); another discovers the sacred bond between man and horse (Soldier of the Horse, Robert W. Mackay, Touchwood).
Suggestive titles: Martha Schabas’s Various Positions (Doubleday), Jennifer Still’s Girlwood (Brick Books), Chester Brown’s memoir about being a john, Paying For It (Drawn & Quarterly). Lewis Carroll’s classic acid-adjacent journey returns (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Porcupine’s Quill) in the same season as a rigorously footnoted version of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Broadview)—both with woodcuts!
Steven Price writes about an earthquake that devastates the west coast (Into That Darkness, Thomas Allen), and Sherrida Woodley imagines a super-virus pandemic and only one hope—a pigeon (Quick Fall of Light, Gray Dog Press).
A man solves his love-life problems with a 110-pound fully operational sex doll (Match, Helen Guri, Coach House). Jesus rises again at a Neil Young concert and amazes his neighbour in Thunder Bay by turning water into sangria; a man tries in vain to emulate his father’s suicide, observed by his humourless cat (Distillery Songs, Mike Spry, Insomniac).
Michael Ondaatje wrote that The Truth of Houses (Ann Scowcroft, Brick Books) is “filled with the intricacies of life,” and Guy Trebay of the New York Times referred to Greta Chapin-McGill’s self-published novel, What Passes for Love, as “very polished.”
A five-foot-tall Toronto woman drives a tiny car (Up Up Up, Julie Booker, Anansi), and in 1940 a Jewish businessman, age sixty-three, attempts to transform the ghetto in Lodz, Poland, into a productive industrial complex in order to make himself indispensable to the Nazi regime (The Emperor, Steve Sem-Sandberg, Anansi).
You can learn to cook all kinds of food that almost sounds like food—except for sandwich slaw—with Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner (Running Press). Or prepare Great Canadian Hemp Milk and Love Muffins and Superhero Spinach Dip in Jae Steele’s Ripe from Around Here (Arsenal Pulp). For the solitary, Erickson and Erickson’s Cooking for One (Lebhar-Friedman) teaches you to cook alone in winter, spring, summer and fall. According to Daniel, the Geist bookeeper, “that’s the saddest cookbook ever.”