Contemporary Fiction

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A Matter of Conscience
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

A novel of love and betrayal dealing with the biggest issues facing Canada’s Indigenous peoples today.

In the summer of 1972, a float plane carrying a team of child welfare officials lands on a river flowing through the Yellow Dog Indian reserve. Their mission is to seize the twin babies of an Indigenous couple as part of an illegal scheme cooked up by the federal government to adopt out tens of thousands of Native children to white families. The baby girl, Brenda, is adopted and raised by a white family in Orillia.

Meanwhile, that same summer, a baby boy named Greg is born to a white middle-class family. At the age of eighteen, Greg leaves home for the first time to earn money to help pay for his university expenses. He drinks heavily and becomes embroiled in the murder of a female student from a residential school.

The destinies of Brenda and Greg intersect in this novel of passion, confronting the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and the infamous Sixties Scoop.

Reviews
"James Bartleman, a First Nation person himself, writes movingly … about the tragic reality of misogynistic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls." — Sharon Stinson Henry, Chief of Chippewas of Rama First Nation

Forces us to confront uncomfortable truths as we seek a path to reconciliation. — Alan Bowker, author of A Time Such as There Never Was Before

Bartleman’s strength as a writer is his compassion. He respects each of his characters and sets the stage for real-world discussions of Canada’s past, present, and future. — Publishers Weekly

Additional Information
272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

A Reader's Guide includes discussion of Sixties Scoop and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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$24.99

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Born With a Tooth
Authors:
Joseph Boyden
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Almost a decade after its original publication, award winner and Governor General Literary Award nominee Joseph Boyden's classic book of short stories is finally being reissued. Born With A Tooth, Boyden's debut work of fiction, is a collection of thirteen beautifully written stories about aboriginal life in Ontario. They are stories of love, unexpected triumph, and a passionate belief in dreams. They are also stories of anger and longing, of struggling to adapt, of searching but remaining unfulfilled. The collection includes 'Bearwalker', a story that introduces a character who appears again in Boyden's novel Three Day Road. By taking on a new voice in each story, Joseph Boyden explores aboriginal stereotypes and traditions in a most unexpected way. Whether told by a woman trying to forget her past or by a drunken man trying to preserve his culture, each story paints an unforgettable and varied image of modern aboriginal culture in Ontario. An extraordinary first book, Born With A Tooth reveals why Joseph Boyden is a writer worth reading.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 10-11

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$22.00

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Jonny Appleseed
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Oji-Cree;

A tour-de-force debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve.

"You're gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine" is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling debut novel by poet Joshua Whitehead.

Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the "rez"--and his former life--to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The seven days that follow are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages--and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life.

Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.

Reviews
"If we're lucky, we'll find one or two books in a lifetime that change the language of story, that manage to illuminate new curves in the flat vessels of old letters and words. This is one of those books. Jonny Appleseed gifts us with clarity in the shape of sharp, and medicine in the guise of soft -- and a sexy, powerful, broken, beautiful hero who has enough capacity in the dent of a clavicle to hold all the tears of his family. This book gives us back the land of curb and field, trailer and ledge, and the community -- in all its rusted and complicated glory. Most importantly, this book gifts us with the opportunity to hear the innovative and the ancient in the prose of a new literary goddess, Joshua Whitehead." ―Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves

"Joshua Whitehead redefines what queer Indigenous writing can be in his powerful debut novel. Jonny Appleseed transcends genres of writing to blend the sacred and the sexual into a vital expression of Indigenous desire and love. Reading it is a coming home to bodies, stories, and experiences of queer Indigenous life that has never been so richly and honestly shown before. This book is an honour song to every queer NDN body who has ever lived and it will transform the universe with its beauty and magic." ―Gwen Benaway, author of Passage

Educator Information
Caution: graphic/mature content such as sexual descriptions.

Additional Information
224 pages | 5.50" x 8.00"

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$17.95

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Monkey Beach
Authors:
Eden Robinson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Haisla;

Eden Robinson's first book, a collection of stories titled Traplines, earned high praise from critics: "Expertly rendered" (New York Times Book Review), and "Captured my attention and permeated my subconscious" (Toronto Globe and Mail). The book was named a New York Times Notable and won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize from the Royal Society of Literature.
Robinson''s mastery is confirmed in Monkey Beach, the first full-length work of fiction by a Haisla writer and an unforgettable story set in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. This powerful novel reminds us that places, as much as people, have stories to tell.

Five hundred miles north of Vancouver is Kitamaat, an Indian reservation in the homeland of the Haisla people. Growing up a tough, wild tomboy, swimming, fighting, and fishing in a remote village where the land slips into the green ocean on the edge of the world, Lisamarie has always been different. Visited by ghosts and shapeshifters, tormented by premonitions, she can''t escape the sense that something terrible is waiting for her. She recounts her enchanted yet scarred life as she journeys in her speedboat up the frigid waters of the Douglas Channel. She is searching for her brother, dead by drowning, and in her own way running as fast as she can toward danger.

Circling her brother''s tragic death are the remarkable characters that make up her family: Lisamarie''s parents, struggling to join their Haisla heritage with Western ways; Uncle Mick, a Native rights activist and devoted Elvis fan; and the headstrong Ma-ma-oo (Haisla for "grandmother"), a guardian of tradition.

Haunting, funny, and vividly poignant, Monkey Beach gives full scope to Robinson''s startling ability to make bedfellows of comedy and the dark underside of life. Informed as much by its lush living wilderness as by the humanity of its colorful characters, Monkey Beach is a profoundly moving story about childhood and the pain of growing older--a multilayered tale of family grief and redemption.

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource.

Note: This novel contains mature subject matter such as drug use and depictions of sex and violence.

Additional Information
384 pages | 5.14" x 8.00"

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$21.00

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Son of a Trickster (PB)
Authors:
Eden Robinson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Fellowship, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otters...The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.

Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don't.

Reviews
“Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster is a novel that shimmers with magic and vitality, featuring a compelling narrator, somewhere between Holden Caulfield and Harry Potter. Just when you think Jared’s teenage journey couldn’t be more grounded in gritty, grinding reality, his addled perceptions take us into a realm beyond his small-town life, somewhere both seductive and dangerous. Energetic, often darkly funny, sometimes poignant, this is a book that will resonate long after the reader has devoured the final page.” —2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury (André Alexis, Anita Rau Badami, Lynn Coady, and Richard Beard)

Educator & Series Information
This is the second book in Eden Robinson's Trickster Trilogy.

Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family. 

Note: This novel contains mature subject matter, such as drug use and depictions of sex and violence.

Additional Information
336 pages | 5.20" x 8.00"

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$21.00

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Starlight
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Interior Salish;

The final novel from Richard Wagamese, the bestselling and beloved author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk, centres on an abused woman on the run who finds refuge on a farm owned by an Indigenous man with wounds of his own. A profoundly moving novel about the redemptive power of love, mercy, and compassion--and the land's ability to heal us.

Frank Starlight has long settled into a quiet life working his remote farm, but his contemplative existence comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of Emmy, who has committed a desperate act so she and her child can escape a harrowing life of violence. Starlight takes in Emmy and her daughter to help them get back on their feet, and this accidental family eventually grows into a real one. But Emmy's abusive ex isn't content to just let her go. He wants revenge and is determined to hunt her down. 

Starlight was unfinished at the time of Richard Wagamese's death, yet every page radiates with his masterful storytelling, intense humanism, and insights that are as hard-earned as they are beautiful. With astonishing scenes set in the rugged backcountry of the B.C. Interior, and characters whose scars cut deep even as their journey toward healing and forgiveness lifts us, Starlight is a last gift to readers from a writer who believed in the power of stories to save us.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.80" x 8.52"

 

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$29.95

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Trickster Drift
Authors:
Eden Robinson
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Haisla; Heiltsuk;

Following the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Son of a Trickster comes Trickster Drift, the second book in Eden Robinson's captivating Trickster trilogy.

In an effort to keep all forms of magic at bay, Jared, 17, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: now he's being stalked by David, his mom's ex--a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho with a proclivity for rib-breaking. And his mother, Maggie, a living, breathing badass as well as a witch, can't protect him like she used to because he's moved away from Kitimat to Vancouver for school.

Even though he's got a year of sobriety under his belt (no thanks to his enabling, ever-partying mom), Jared also struggles with the temptation of drinking. And he's got to get his grades up, find a job that doesn't involve weed cookies, and somehow live peacefully with his Aunt Mave, who has been estranged from the family ever since she tried to "rescue" him as a baby from his mother. An indigenous activist and writer, Mave smothers him with pet names and hugs, but she is blind to the real dangers that lurk around them--the spirits and supernatural activity that fill her apartment.

As the son of a Trickster, Jared is a magnet for magic, whether he hates it or not--he sees ghosts, he sees the monster moving underneath his Aunt Georgina's skin, he sees the creature that comes out of his bedroom wall and creepily wants to suck his toes. He also still hears the Trickster in his head, and other voices too. When the David situation becomes a crisis, Jared can't ignore his true nature any longer.

Reviews
“As with the first book, Trickster Drift is most memorable for its set pieces. . . . The mix of sharp comedy, quick character sketches, and unsettling horror is note-perfect.” —Nathan Whitlock, Quill & Quire.

"The great strength of Trickster Drift is that humanity and empathy, but let’s be clear: there are monsters here, both human and otherwise. The novel builds to a climax that is simultaneously thrilling and thought-provoking, one which overturns much of what we have come to know. The third novel can’t come soon enough." — Robert J. Wiersema, The Star

Series Information
This is the second book in Eden Robinson's Trickster Trilogy.

Additional Information
384 pages | 6.30" x 9.31"

 

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$32.00

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Wild and Beautiful is the Night
Authors:
John Miller
Format: Paperback

Paulette and Danni grew up miles apart — Paulette in Hamilton and Danni in North Toronto — but they might as well have been worlds apart. Paulette's family emigrated from Jamaica. Danni grew up Jewish in an affluent neighbourhood of Toronto. Now both women find themselves on the streets of Toronto, working in the sex trade. 

Paulette is a seasoned prostitute, working to support herself and her addiction. She acts as an unlikely and reluctant mentor and friend to Danni, who is new to the street and whose addiction has set her on a similar path to Paulette. Their paths intersect again and again over the course of a difficult and troubled friendship that sees Paulette begin to pull herself together while Danni manages to survive everything that comes her way. Will her luck run out? Has Paulette learned to make her own luck?

Additional Information
296 pages | 5.50" x 8.12"

Authentic Canadian Content
$22.95

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