While Can-lit heavy-hitters such as Emily St John Mandel, Kelly Armstrong, Rawi Hage, Thomas King, Alastair McLeod,and Lisa Moore all have new books that are set to be released over the next few months, there’s also some exciting titles by lesser-known and debut authors to look forward to this year. The following are five that I will be keeping my eye on as we get settled into 2022.
The Maid by Nita Prose is getting quite a bit of buzz for this debut author. It follows a likeable neurodivergent woman named Molly Gray. Molly loves her job as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, but she is awkward and bullied by other employees. One day, she finds the body of a hotel guest in his bed – but this does not stop her from cleaning the room, much to the chagrin (and suspicion!) of police. Suddenly, Molly is caught in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. If you like traditional mysteries with well-developed protagonists, this one sounds like a winner. The Maid was released earlier this month.
Looking for Jane, a debut novel by Heather Marshall, begins in 2017 with the discovery of a mysterious letter containing a confession in an old stack of mail. Determined to find the recipient, a woman named Angela researches back to the 1970s when a group of women operated an underground abortion network in Toronto known by the code name: Jane. This is reminiscent of the more literary 2021 Giller Prize nominee We, Jane by Aimee Wall. Looking for Jane is expected in March.
Sister Seen, Sister Heard by Kimia Eslah follows a young woman named Farah who is ready to move out and become an independent university student. Her first-generation Iranian immigrant parents are not supportive of this development, but they begrudgingly agree to let her move. But just as Farah begins to explore this new exciting chapter, she is assaulted on campus and life as she knows it is turned upside down. Look for this novel in March.
Mad Honey is a debut novel by Ottawa-based Katie Welch. When her boyfriend Beck disappears, Melissa throws herself into running her family farm. When Beck returns three months later looking bedraggled and speaking of memories of a bee colony, an odd and compelling mystery begins to unravel. This novel will be released in May.
The Ghost of Suzuko by Vincent Brault is the first of the author’s novels translated to English. A work of magical realism, it follows a Montrealer who travels to Tokyo to mourn a lover who died under tragic circumstances. When a new love enters his life, will it offer stability or only more complications? This novel will be released in June.
While not all of the titles above are currently available, you can reserve them ahead of time at CountyLibrary.ca.