Book picks similar to
Dr. Kalbfleisch & The Chicken Restaurant by Cordelia Strube
Being Mary Ro
Ida Linehan Young - 2018
When a series of dramatic events brings a strange man to her door, Mary emerges from the comfortable isolation that she knows to follow her dreams in Boston. Those desires do not come without sacrifice and hard choices. When her past comes back to haunt her, Mary must decide whether there is room for both her aspirations and her heart—or if she must surrender one to have the other.
Right Away Monday
Joel Thomas Hynes - 2007
He spends just as much time scraping the bottom as he does being high as a kite and can’t seem to find middle ground. A hopelessly self-destructive and at times unforgivably brutal young man, Clayton is a sometimes bartender at the Awl and Hatchet with a bad attitude that elicits love and loathing in equal measure. Over the course of a write-off year, Clayton wrestles with the conflicting desires of wanting to matter to somebody and to care for no one, wanting to prove he’s different from the so-called wasters around him but not enough to say no to a pint. In the filthy bars, cold back alleys and soiled bedrooms of downtown St. John’s that Clayton inhabits, we spend a debauched year with him as he drinks and dreams, fights and fails, screws and screws up. He lives his life as an eternal weekend, sure he can stop any time and accomplish great things. But then Clayton meets Isadora, who stirs something real and achingly human underneath the swagger, sending him on the bender of his life.Right Away Monday is a stormy novel of unlikely beauty, peopled by unforgettable characters—including one Valentine Reid, Clayton’s burnt-out and battered rocker uncle; the lovely though world-weary Monica; and the shrewd Mike Quinn, slum landlord and owner of the Awl and Hatchet. Unnervingly authentic, these are the constituents of a world grown weary and wasted, with a new generation stumbling blindly behind. But oblivion is only skin deep. Beneath the wreckage of youthful distraction lie the vast and abiding questions that haunt our quietest moments—questions of destiny, fate, mortality and of our connections to one another. Ushering the chaos and uncertainty of this dark bar-room universe into the bright intensity of Hynes’ unflinching gaze, Right Away Monday will grab you by the throat and not let you go.
Belonging: Home Away from Home
Isabel Huggan - 2003
Shifting from memoir to fiction, it focuses on the commonplace experiences underlying our lives that are the true basis for storytelling. At the book’s core is Isabel Huggan’s old house in rural France, from where she contemplates the real meaning of “home,” and the mysterious manner in which memory gives substance to ordinary things around us. With a light touch, she brings to life the people she has met in her travels from whom valuable lessons have been learned.Isabel Huggan writes with the candour and compassion that made her earlier books so well loved, and here she speaks even more clearly from the heart. Belonging is an intimate conversation between the narrator who needs to examine her life because it has not turned out as she expected, and her readers, who will find their own concerns illuminated in surprising ways. Slowly, a pattern emerges as certain motifs become apparent: happiness, friendship, landscape, language, heartache. As the book draws to a close, readers will understand the fictional character who says, “There is nothing in our lives that doesn’t fit.”
Breakfast at the Exit Cafe
Wayne Grady - 2010
It soon becomes a journey of exploration. For Grady, whose forebears were slaves who came to Canada in the 1880s, this is a journey through fear, racism, and violence into his own family roots. For Simonds, who grew up a lonely Canadian in the American School of Campinas, Brazil, it is a journey into the heart of the ex-pat promised land, the nation of the American Dream. As Grady and Simonds travel back through American history, they encounter the splendours of the Mojave Desert, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River, and the bayous of Louisiana and the Outer Banks, and they experience the impact of geography on culture and of culture on the landscape. Although they are observing America from the outside, they also strangely feel at home. The Americans they meet illuminate a country dissolving in the grip of the Bush administration's final years and inspire them to reassess their-and our-assumptions about that powerful and complex country. Also available in paperback.
David Bergen - 2014
His father prefers the love of horses and good books, while his mother is guided by practicality and her faith. Bev, his rough-edged brother, chooses action over thinking. Among them is the solitary Arthur - intelligent, curious, garrulous, romantic and at odds with his surroundings and his religion. His one ally is his adopted cousin, the fearless Isobel. Their mutual admiration for the land, for literature, all things French and each other sustain Arthur. When Bev goes to fight in Vietnam and returns emotionally broken, relationships within the family change and tensions between the two brothers rise. With a secret between them, Arthur leaves for Paris, where he pursues his passions for writing and women and at last claims the life he has always wanted. But dreams and reality don’t always match, and it takes going away for Arthur to appreciate the push and pull of both home and love.With his trademark elegant prose and incisive characterizations, David Bergen has created a wise and hopeful character, and an emotionally powerful story of being young and finding oneself.
The Western Light
Susan Swan - 2012
Mouse’s world is constrained by a number of factors: her mother is dead, her father – the admired country doctor – is emotionally distant, her housekeeper Sal is prejudiced and narrow, and her grandmother and aunt, Big Louie and Little Louie, the only life-affirming presences in her life, live in another city. Enter Gentleman John Pilkie, the former NHL star who’s transferred to the mental hospital in Madoc's Landing, where he is to serve out his life-sentence for the murder of his wife and daughter. John becomes a point of fascination for young Mary, who looks to him for the attention she does not receive from her father. He, in turn, is kind to her – but the kindness is misunderstood. When Mary figures out that the attention she receives from the Hockey Killer is different in kind and intent from the attention her Aunt Little Louie receives, her world collapses. Set against the beautiful and dramatic shore of Georgian Bay, the climax will have readers turning pages with concern for characters they can’t help but love.Praise"Mouse Bradford is a unique and luminous creation... Gentleman John Pilkie, the hockey killer with a heart of gold, is dressed and ready to become a legend." — Paul Gross
The Dead Are More Visible
Steven Heighton - 2012
These 11 profoundly moving and finely crafted stories encapsulate wildly divergent themes of love and loss, containment and exclusion. In the title story, a parks & rec worker faces an assailant who does not leave the altercation intact. A medical researcher and his claustrophobic fiancée are locked in the trunk of their car after a failed carjacking (the thief can't drive standard). A young woman enters a pharmaceutical trial in the outer reaches of suburbia and slips between sleeping and waking with increasingly alarming ease. Pairing the cultural acuity of Lost in Translation with the compassion and reach of The World According to Garp, Heighton breathes new life into the short story, a genre that is finally coming into its own.
Geoff Berner - 2013
Follow the flailing escapades of maverick music manager Campbell Ouiniette at the Calgary Folk Festival, as he leaves a trail of empty liquor bottles, cigarette butts, bruised egos, and obliterated relationships behind him. His top headlining act has abandoned him for the Big Time. In a fit of self-delusion or pure genius (or perhaps a bit of both), Ouiniette devises an intricate scam, a last hurrah in an attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of his girlfriend, the music industry, and the rest of the world. He reveals his path of destruction in his own transparently self-justifying, explosive, profane words, with digressions into the Edmonton hardcore punk rock scene, the Yugoslavian Civil War, and other epicentres of chaos.
Merilyn Simonds - 2004
Wandering there, she uncovers, in the ruins of a log cabin, the writings of a young woman who lived more than a hundred years before. Into Alyson's story Merilyn Simonds weaves the moving tale of Margaret MacBayne, who, with her family, left behind hardship in a seaside Scottish town in the hope of building a new home in the Canadian wilderness. Margaret, an expert on herbs, contemplates revenge when her brothers rob her of her happiness. When Alyson too suffers great loss, she must decide if retribution is worth the price. Taut and uplifting, sensuous and astute, The Holding is psychologically complex and beautifully rendered. Simonds brings us an intimate journey of discovery into the things we keep most guarded, whose truths often lie in unexpected places.
The Mad Trapper
Rudy Wiebe - 1980
When it ended, he was the most notorious criminal in North America, the object of the largest manhunt in RCMP history.This is the story of Albert Johnson, the Mad Trapper, a silent man of superhuman strength and endurance, who defied capture for fifty days in the bitter cold of winter, north of the Arctic Circle. He was a man who crossed hundreds of miles of frozen tundra on foot, who survived dynamite blasts and the pursuit of police, trappers and the army, and who became the first man to cross the Richardson Mountains in a blizzard.
Eric McCormack - 1992
What he finds is the dying and the dead, an entire population suffering from a strange and unnatural plague. Is it possible that every one of the townsfolk have been poisoned? At the heart of the mystery is the local pharmacist, Aiken. He is responsible for summoning young Maxwell to Carrick. He offers motives, explanations, stories, questions. But could he also be guilty of this heinous crime? Maxwell soon realizes that, although a great violence is being done to Carrick, the town itself hides from its own secrets - events from long ago and truths hidden from outsiders at all costs, even their lives. Maxwell interviews the final survivors who are suffering from a disease characterized by a barely recognizable but nonetheless identifiable odour, and a garrulousness unusual in such taciturn people, long accustomed to keeping secrets. yet their confessions lead constantly to more questions and always back to Aiken. As one who knows him well queries, "He's like a stick in water. Is he bent or not?"In The Mysterium, Eric McCormack's second novel, the nature of truth is found to be as deadly as the poison killing the people of Carrick. For at the heart of everything, at the heart of every story and every truth, there is only the mystery.
Grace O'Connell - 2012
Then her blackouts begin, as do the visits from a mysterious customer who offers help for Maggie's blackouts and her project of investigating her mother's past in the American South. Is Maggie breaking down in the way her mother did, or is her "madness" a distinctive show of grief? Nobody really knows, not her father, her boyfriend or her psychiatrist, and especially not Maggie, who has to make some crazy decisions in order to work to feel sane again. A vivid look at the various confusions that can set in after a trauma and an insightful, gently funny portrait of a woman in her early twenties, especially relatable to readers who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Magnified World dramatizes the battle between the head and the heart and the limitations of both in unlocking something as complicated as loss.
The Prisoner and the Chaplain
Michelle Berry - 2017
As the hours drain away, the chaplain must decide if the prisoner’s story is an off-the-cuff confession or a last bid for salvation. As the chaplain listens he realizes a life has many stories, and he has his own story to tell – a last ditch plea for forgiveness told to someone who will never be able to repeat it. Each man is guilty in his own way, and their stories have led them to the same room, a room that only one of them will leave alive. If you had only twelve hours left to live, what would you have to say?