So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum
This book does not need my blessing. It’s everywhere and got nominated for a big, delicious prize. But I’ll add my voice to the chorus because it's a beautiful, devastating book. The collection of voices Rosenblum gathers to tell this story are remarkable. It's a painful story -- a young woman goes missing -- but there is hope here, and even humour. As anyone who has read her work can attest to, Rosenblum shines when she writes about the everyday acts of living -- spinning it all into fascinating art. With So Much Love, this skill has been elevated. The plot is beyond the everyday -- it's a thriller. And the emotional resonance is also far deeper, the stakes as high as they can get. So Much Love is a powerful literary pager-turner and Rosenblum is a total star.
The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis
Here's the truth: Deborah Willis reintroduced me to the short story. I’d fallen away from the form for a time. I wasn’t getting the closure I needed or the emotional connection I look for when reading. Then came The Dark and Other Love Stories. I’ve never felt more emotional satisfaction from a book of shorts. So much heart, humour and wonder in this volume. For example, she wrote a story about an expedition to Mars, but it's framed around the struggles of romantic love! Who would think to do that?! (By the way, it's perfect.) It’s easily one of my favourite books of the year. It’s cool and modern but wholeheartedly sincere, almost radically so. I can’t say enough good stuff about it.
A Three-Tiered Pastel Dream by Lelsey Trites
Ever have a roommate who you just know is gonna make it someday? Lesley Trites was one of those. In the mid-2000s, we shared a crib with four other people on the crest of a mid-town hill. Sometimes, when she would look out at the view, I'd wonder what she was thinking. Beauties like this, I guess:
“So I slip-soled up the steps of the library determined to harness that beast, the Internet, and find you."
“Alex is a shortcut through the debilitating self-consciousness that runs in my family and slows us down.”This collection is sensitive, reflective, and very entertaining. I felt like I was reading literary gossip sometimes because the peeks she gives into the lives of her characters are so wonderfully juicy! Lesley was a good friend and a reliable woman to share a chore-wheel with, so I'm stoked that CanLit (and you) has found her out.
Next Year, for Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
This is not what I expected from a novel about an open relationship, not at all -- and that made me love it all the more. The prose is stunning and the story has such depth and wisdom, while still being wildly entertaining. I am mystified by how Peterson has written such an emotionally complex book with such clarity. It's not a thriller, but it kind of is! Because I could not put this book down! I had to see what happened next to this couple! If this doesn't get shortlisted for the major prizes this year, I will protest.