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Topic: Canadian authors who are NOT Margaret Atwood

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Subject: Canadian authors who are NOT Margaret Atwood
Date Posted: 5/31/2008 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
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Do you have any favorites? I have a running joke with a (Canadian) friend who insists that all Americans know of Canadian Literature is Margaret Atwood and I insist that I don't know ANYONE who has read Atwood. Maybe you have to be there. ******** Anyhow, I am here to put forth a couple of Canadian authors and perhaps to pick up a few in the process. My first recommendation is As the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald though I have enjoyed all of her stuff. I also recommend The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston. He came out with a sequel to this novel about Newfoundland but I haven't yet read it. Finally, I recommend Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance which is a beautiful novel.
Date Posted: 6/1/2008 6:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
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That's funny, LeeAnne, because for years Margaret Atwood was my favorite author, and now Ann-Marie McDonald is! 

I have both Colony of Unrequited Dreams and A Fine Balance on my TBR. 

I'd love to hear other recommendations.  Canada provides a wealth of talent - I've always loved their comedians too.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 7:15 AM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2007
Posts: 1,334
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Kelly Armstrong lives in Ontario.  Her Women of the Otherworld Series is great:   Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Broken, Haunted....   She has another character, Nadia Stafford.  Haven't read that one yet.


Date Posted: 6/1/2008 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2005
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Yea my first thought was Kelley Armstrong, love her. I know Michelle Rowen lives there, but I don't know if she is from there. Eve Silver and Deborah Cooke live there as well.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
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Robertson Davies and Farley Mowat (Never Cry Wolf) spring to mind.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
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Nalo Hopkinson.  She's Jamaican, but has lived in Canada since 1977.  She writes scif/fantasy and her books are amazing.  Brown Girl in the Ring is one of my favorites and it won first place in the Warner Aspect First Novel contest back in '97. 

Date Posted: 6/2/2008 8:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
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Isn't Anne Tyler Canadian? Or at least living in Canada?

Date Posted: 6/2/2008 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2005
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Giles Blunt writes the John Cardinal mystery series.

Date Posted: 6/2/2008 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 316
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Robertson Davies' well-regarded novel Fifth Business is on my shelf. A nice blend of comedy and drama and interesting ideas. Also on my shelf is a collection of his speeches, One Half of Robertson Davies, which are funny, wise, with lots of curious ideas.

Date Posted: 6/2/2008 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
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Last Edited on: 2/7/13 5:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/2/2008 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/11/2008
Posts: 33
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My favorite author when I was younger was Gordon Korman - for that matter, I still really like his older stuff (not so much the new books).  He used to write absolutely hilarious YA novels about boys engaging in what boiled down to epic prank wars.

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 9:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2006
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I insist that I don't know ANYONE who has read Atwood


I love Atwood. I have read The Handmaid's Tale  and Oryx and Crake at least 4 times each and I have read several other of her books as well. The only one I didn't like was Cat's Eye.



Last Edited on: 6/8/08 9:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/9/2008 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,026
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I read Atwood too!!!! 

Subject: Jane Urquhart - AWAY
Date Posted: 6/21/2008 12:14 AM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 252
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I loved Jane Urquhart's AWAY. It reminds me of the movie, Secret
of Roan Inish - it has the same kind of magic - at least the first
half of the book.

I learned about her when reading the book SPEAKING IN THE PAST
TENSE, which is interviews with Canadian historical novelists


Date Posted: 6/21/2008 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2007
Posts: 5,522
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Isn't Anne Tyler Canadian? Or at least living in Canada?

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis and has lived in Baltimore for over 40 years, where most of her books are set.  Not Canadian at all, as far as I can tell.

Date Posted: 6/22/2008 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
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I started reading Atwood in my teens and I finally got my book club to try The Handmaid's Tale.  I really like her writing and subjects.  

Date Posted: 6/22/2008 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Lester mentioned Robertson Davies, and several posters mentioned Margaret Atwood, but you all left out quite a few fine Canadian writers.....Margaret Laurence (A Bird in the HouseThe Fire Dwellers, A Jest of GodThe Diviners, The Stone Angel); Rudy Wiebe (Peace Shall Destroy Many); Jack Hodgins (The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne); Frederick P. Grove (Fruits of the Earth, Over Prairie Trails); Brian Moore (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Luck of Ginger Coffey);  Hugh MacLennan (Two Solitudes); and Carol Shields (The Stone Diaries).

There are more, but I bet the above list is more than some PBS readers ever heard of.  For short stories, Canadians Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant can't be beat, and Stephen Leacock (Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town) and Mordecai Richler (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz) are humor writers par excellence.

And French-Canadian writers Gabrielle Roy (The Tin Flute) and Anne Hebert (In the Shadow of the Wind) may be read in either French or English.


Date Posted: 6/26/2008 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 7:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/26/2008 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
Posts: 181
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 7:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2008 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2006
Posts: 823
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I LOVED The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy. He is Chinese-Canadian and the novel takes place in Vancouver's Chinatown. It is SUCH an excellent novel and was recommended by a Canadian friend. I've also heard Not Wanted on the Voyage by Findley (sp?) is great and I've been trying to get it from PBS for a while!

Date Posted: 7/3/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Ooops!   Jessica's post brought an omission of mine to attention-----Timothy Findley is a first-rate novelist, and my choice among his works (if you're only going to read one) would be Famous Last Words.  It's set in Europe and England during the W W II years, and some of the characters are real people, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Date Posted: 7/4/2008 1:41 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
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Spider Robinson has lived in Canada (Nova Scotia and more recently British Columbia) for more than 30 years. I have bought more copies of his book "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" than any other book I can name. I used to buy them two at a time - one to keep, and one to loan to a friend. The loaners never came back, and I'd wind up lending the keeper, and the next thing you know, I'd be back at the bookstore again, buying another two! I bought at least a dozen copies over the years, no exaggeration!
Date Posted: 7/4/2008 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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Louise Penny lives south of Montreal and has written 4 mysteries set in a small Quebec village.  The first one is "Still Life."  I've read the first 3 and, although they've become "cozier," I've enjoyed them all.

Maureen Jennings, who migrated to Canada at 17, writes the Inspector Murdoch series set in 19th century Toronto.  I believe someone described her as the Canadian Anne Perry and although I've only read a couple of Anne Perry's and one of Jennings, the comparison seemed apt.  I read "Under the Dragon's Tail" and I'll try another. 

Date Posted: 7/4/2008 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
Posts: 1,010
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Tanya Huff-fantasy writer

Date Posted: 7/4/2008 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2005
Posts: 2,030
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Alice Munro is just brilliant. I would read anything she wrote. I want her to win a Nobel Prize during my lifetime.

Michael Ondaatje comes to mind also. "The English Patient" was so much richer than the movie they made of it.

I really loved "Cat's Eye" and "Alias Grace," so maybe we have opposing tastes, though.