The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Nguyen’s debut novel, The Sympathizers, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His follow-up collection of stories is well-timed to the current political conversation, though he’s spent the last 20 years writing it. The tales follow Vietnamese immigrants, forced to move from Saigon to California at the end of the war in Vietnam, as they work to rebuild their lives. On shelves now.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This Dickens-sized doorstop of a family saga begins in 1900, with an unplanned pregnancy that threatens the esteem of a proud Korean family and forces the disgraced heroin, Sunja, to marry a pastor and move to Japan. There, she and her children are considered second-class citizens due to their Korean roots. The story unfolds Forrest Gump–style over the next 80 years, bringing global events like WWII and the AIDS crisis to bear on its characters. On shelves now.
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
In the Toronto-based screenwriter’s exuberant and twisty debut novel, Tom Barren steals his dad’s time machine to go back to the summer of 1965 where he learns, as Marty McFly did before him, that one small error can disrupt the course of history. On shelves now.
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
When the Nigerian novelist’s childhood friend asked her for advice on raising her baby girl, Adichie wrote her a letter with 15 practical suggestions that now make up this lovely and lucid purse-sized manual for modern womanhood. March 7.
South and West by Joan Didion
Few writers can whip up buzz simply by publishing their notebooks. Didion can — such is her cultish following. Her latest book is comprised of two extended passages from the 1970s: a road trip across the American south with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and a collection of notes from an unpublished Rolling Stone piece on hippy-era San Francisco and the sensational kidnapping trial of Patty Hearst. In other words: vintage Didion. March 7.
The Middlepause: On Turning 50 by Marina Benjamin
Thrust into menopause by a hysterectomy, Benjamin writes a collection of thoughtful personal essays on aging. A refreshing counterpoint to our youth-obsessed culture, it’s a mid-life call to embrace experience, even if it brings loss or sadness. March 1.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
An alternate title for Hamid’s new novel may well be Love in the Time of Drone Strikes. Fiery Nadia and sweet Saeed fall fast in love, but their city is a war zone. With helicopters whirring overhead and explosions interrupting their courtship, the couple searches for a magical door rumoured to teleport them to a better life. March 7.
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
At 39, single, child-free, good-time-drinking Andrea Bern watches her friends get married, have kids, build careers and leave her behind in a state of suspended adolescence. Then, her niece arrives and she’s forced to grow up. Requisite reading for fans of Saint Mazie and The Middlestein’s, Attenberg’s other compulsively entertaining novels starring many-layered heroines. March 7.
We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel
Yes, that Gillian Anderson — the X-Files one who seems, miraculously, to never age — has co-authored a guide to self-discovery in the new feminist era. With sections like, “Gratitude: A mind-altering substance” and “Meditation: Creating a Safe Space,” it’s a tad more self-help-y than most of the female empowerment tomes (of which there are many) out this spring. March 8.
The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
In 2013, the New Yorker writer published a devastating, Facebook-viral memoir about miscarrying in Mongolia. Little did readers know, the rest of her seemingly perfect life was unravelling, too. This memoir heaves readers into Levy’s rock-bottom, offering a scathingly honest self-portrait of an ambitious, sometimes cocky, sometimes naive, totally resilient woman trying to wrap her arms around everything — marriage, career, children — at once. March 13.
Free Women Free Men by Camille Paglia
The professor and social critic has scolded feminists, taken down Madonna, defended The Real Housewives, praised the stiletto as high art and argued that women should love football. The best of her insightful, acidic essays are collected in this new volume. March 14.
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
The Toronto writer and Twitter provocateur reflects with dry wit and winning self-awareness on growing up a girl of colour in Calgary, shopping when you’re not a size zero, rape culture, binge drinking and inheriting her parents’ catastrophizing tendencies. March 7.
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Selin, an plucky Turkish girl moves to America in 1995, enrolls in Harvard, makes a new best friend, goes off to Europe for a summer and falls in love — ordinary coming-of-age stuff related by a charming narrator with an eye for the absurdities of ordinary coming-of-age stuff. March 14.
American War by Omar El Akkad
“I took the myriad conflicts that have defined the world during my lifetime — the Israeli-Palestinian wars, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the failed and failing Arab Spring revolutions — and dressed them in the clothes of a second American civil war.” This is how the award-winning Canadian journalist describes his absurdly ambitious debut novel, which brings the Middle East to the West and dares readers not to empathize. April 4.
What Remains by Karen Von Hahn
Through objects — a string of pearls, a blue bottle, a silver satin sofa — the veteran style writer remembers the glamorous and maddening mother who presided over her privileged childhood in 1970s and ’80s Toronto. April 9.
Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose
On the subject of her own writing, Virginia Woolf once scrawled in her diary “too much and not the mood.” The Montreal- and Brooklyn-based essayist Chew-Bose pulls her title from Woolf, along with a hint of poeticism that she blends with philosophy and memoir to muse on childhood memories, pop culture and art. April 11.
Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me by Stacey May Fowles
A Blue Jays die-hard, Fowles writes intimately about her devotion to the game and the comfort it has provided her over the years, plus the pitfalls of female fandom (plenty of mansplaining). April 11.
Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall by Suzette Mayr
Calgary writer Suzette Mayr presents a psychedelic take on the campus novel, starring an anxious English professor frazzled by nasty colleagues, a haunted workplace and demonic rabbits. April 17.
Little Sister by Barbara Gowdy
Everytime a thunder storm breaks Rose mysteriously teleports into the body of Harriet. The out-of-body jaunts offer an intriguing escape from Rose’s own life, which revolves around caring for her mother who suffers from dementia and begins to dredge up painful memories about Rose’s long-dead little sister. April 18.
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author returns to the small, down-and-out town at the heart of her last bestseller, My Name is Lucy Barton, to explore the characters on Lucy’s periphery. As with much of Strout’s work, mere plot descriptions make her stories sound like snooze fests (elderly janitor visits lonely man living in dilapitated house; adult siblings come to grips with their parents’ failures), but Strout’s knack for capturing every twitch and tragedy of the human psyche electrifies her characters and their fraught relationships. April 25.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Seven stories told by seven men, each in his own state of loneliness, heartsickness and/or confusion about women, make up Murakami’s latest collection of short stories. For a preview, check out the previously published “Scheherazade,” about a man trapped in a house and visited bi-weekly by a mysterious woman who fulfills his sexual needs and tells him intriguing post-coital tales. May 9.
The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
Cameron’s latest weaves the prehistoric with the modern. One thread follows Girl, a Pleistocene-era teenager and possibly the last living Neanderthal, who forges a bond with an orphan named Runt. The other follows an ambitious archaeologist attempting to wrap a big dig (of Neanderthal artifacts, obviously) before giving birth to her first baby. April 25.
The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness by Jill Filipovic
Lawyer, feminist writer and Ivanka Trump critic Jill Filipovic travelled across the U.S., asking women what they really want. Their answer? Happiness. She unpacks the many barriers to achieving that goal in the 21st century, when women are working harder than ever, both professionally and as mothers, and lays out a plan for legal, cultural and social change. Consider it a manifesto for the Women’s March era. May 2
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Polly, a Chinese immigrant working in a New York City nail bar, goes missing, leaving her 11-year-old son, Deming, to be adopted by a kindly, white academic couple. Deming, soon renamed Daniel, grows into a troubled twentysomething with a gambling problem, who eventually discovers the heart-piercing truth about his mother’s disappearance — and sacrifices. May 2.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Since its release in 2015, Hawkins’s wildly successful domestic noir, Girl on the Train, has inspired publishers everywhere to sell their thrillers as “The next Girl on The Train.” This one actually lives up to that title. Hawkins is back with two dead women in a river, a town haunted by tragedy and characters riddled by unreliable memories. May 2.
I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg
One of Canada’s most influential restaurateurs — the woman who introduced Toronto to charcuterie and the $15 cocktail — can write, too. In her candid and chatty new memoir, Agg dishes on the grit it takes to be a successful woman in a dude-dominated world, falling in love with her artist husband and, of course, her reputation for being a “real bitch.” May 16.
Becoming Cliterate by Dr. Laurie Mintz
Movies and porn teach men and women that sex is the old in and out but, as most females can attest, the most reliable source of pleasure is the clitoris. This in-depth adult sex-ed guide redirects people to the C-spot, so they can get more O’s out of their sex lives. May 9.
Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
Snippets of overheard IHOP conversation, terrifically bad jokes from the ’80s and, of course, plenty of family anecdotes, like the time Dad Sedaris’s head caught on fire, fill almost 40 years’ worth of folksy, good-natured diaries. May 30.