I am currently finishing off Mistakes to Run With by Yasuko Thanh and I’m very grateful to end 2019 with this riveting memoir that challenges many perceived ideas about the power we have to control, and change, our lives.
My pre-New Year’s resolution is to read Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves in French, Pilleurs de rêves, recently translated by Madeleine Stratford, a Governor General’s Literary Award finalist this year. It’s exciting to have Dimaline’s book available to francophone readers in Canada and beyond.
Another Governor General’s Literary Award finalist and French fiction author whose work I’m grateful to discover is Éléonore Goldberg. Her novel in fragments, Maisons fauves, is about memory, rootlessness, and identity.
I have to wonder if I would have survived many ups and downs in 2019 without the extraordinary power of South African-born, British author Deborah Levy to write about ordinary, lived experience, grief, and the way we are shaped by family and society in The Cost of Living and Things I Don't Want to Know.
This was the first year I have ever belonged to a book club, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to read Women Talking by Miriam Toews with a group of Montreal women, from all walks of life — all of whom wanted to talk at length about the book’s deeply spiritual message: to be true to one’s personal convictions, and faith, in the face of oppression, abuse, and trauma.
Like so many readers, I have been trying to read everything by, and about, Olga Tokarczuk, who received the Nobel Prize as well as receiving death threats. She reminds us that writing can be a dangerous, but courageous act.
And, closer to home, the poetry of Innu poet and performer, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine. All in all, 2019 has been a year of inspiring reading.