Fall Fiction: 7 Great Reads

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If summer books are dubbed “beach reads,” what do we call autumn releases? “Leaf reads”? “Harvest hardcovers”? This year you might just call them “maple must-haves” because you’ll be stuck on these September releases until the very last page.


“When you’re young, you can see things in very black and white terms, and purity seems like something to aspire to,” best-selling author Jonathan Franzen said during an interview at Book Expo America when talking his new novel, Purity (Sept. 1). The book, centred on a young woman’s search for her father, takes the reader on journeys both literal and generational.

Award-winning scribe Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (Sept. 8) marks his first work of adult fiction in seven years and tells the mystical tale of strange occurrences, unknown forces and a collision of worlds following a storm in New York City.

Sleep (Sept. 22) by Canuck novelist Nino Ricci is a study in suspense as a man sees his charmed life descend into near madness when disrupted reality, pill-popping and deadly pursuits threaten to consume him.

And Canada’s First Lady of Literature, Margaret Atwood, caps the month with The Heart Goes Last (Sept. 29), a novel that mixes wit and intrigue in a tale about a couple who move to a town where they’re given room and board for free, with one catch: every other month they have to take up residence in the town prison. And that’s just the beginning.


Summer Hangover

Some hot summer reads keep their sizzle long after you’ve left the beach. Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman sent a seismic shock through the literary world when the To Kill a Mockingbird “sequel,” which was actually written before the Pulitzer Prize-winning tome, revealed a dark side to beloved civil rights lawyer Atticus Finch, challenging readers to re-evaluate their perspective and leaving many TKAMB fans divided over whether they’ll even read it.

Meanwhile, author Julia Pierpont scored a double whammy with her debut, Among the Ten Thousand Things: A Novel, about a family’s attempt to weather the storm after a husband’s infidelity is exposed. Not only is it a hit with critics and book reviewers alike, but a bidding war among publishers helped her score a six-figure paycheque. Oh, and did we mention she’s only 28 and fresh from college? Yeah, she’s the real deal.


Heritage in Focus

“I don’t look at them as destroyed,” Canadian photographer Yuri Dojc says about the tattered prayer books in Last Folio: A Photographic Memory. “I look at them as beautifully aged.” Dojc, now 69, visited the Slovakian home of his grandfather, who was among the Jewish population taken by the Nazis. He also came across the belongings of former residents, including thousands of prayer books – even one that belonged to his grandfather – many of which make up the collection that ensures the legacy of these lives is never lost to history.

“Probably 99 per cent of these people never returned,” he noted. “This is to leave something behind about people who really don’t have graves … This is my generation’s memento of that era.”