1.The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
A man loses everything but his life after crashing his vehicle and nearly burning to death, but his journey towards healing takes a turn for the mysterious after he meets a woman who says she knew him in a past life – and claims to be hundreds of years old. Touching, beautifully written without being exhaustively described, The Gargoyle is one of the best books to come out of a Winnipeg author this century.
2. Summer of my Amazing Luck by Miriam Toews
A single mom on welfare doesn’t seem like the best place to start for a hilarious book, but it’s the backdrop to one of the funniest stories you’ll read in ages. Summer of My Amazing Luck deservedly propelled Toews front and centre of Manitoba’s (and Canada’s) literary stage 15 years ago, leading to a Governor General award for A Complicated Kindness, her next novel. Check it out.
3. The Burning Time by Carol Matas
This is one of Matas’ lesser known stories, about a girl finding the courage to protect herself and her mother from the injustices placed upon them. The Burning Time is set in 16th Century France, where women are accused of being witches. The novel’s strong, young heroine is easy for tween and teen girls to relate to as she struggles with the lack of dignity towards women, romance, and becoming a woman herself.
4. A Thousand Farewells by Nahlah Ayed
Craig Hanley, from McNally Robinson Booksellers recommends Ayed’s memoir about her time growing up in Winnipeg, moving to a refugee camp in Jordan, and then returning to Winnipeg and eventually become a journalist. Of course there is a lot of mention of Winnipeg’s influence on her life – but what Hanley points out is the emphasis Ayed puts on the lives of children in the Middle East.
5. A Walk in Pirate’s Cove by Marisa Hochman, illustrated by Bette Woodland
Alex Kroeger, from McNally Robinson’s kids section recommends this colourful picture book for both adults and kids. It boasts beautiful illustrations of childhood memories at Winnipeg Beach that anyone who has spent a summer day on the beach can share in. Hochman said in an interview with CBC that residents of the Interlake especially will ‘delight in finding the small silhouette of the water tower on the final page of the story, or in recognizing the footbridge over Boundary Creek marsh.’