10 Canadian Fiction Favorites

Although I now live in the Southern United States, I'm originally from Canada, and so my personal library is peppered with books by Canadian authors. The list below is a rather random sampling of some of my favorites. Some of these titles will be familiar to most, others are little known... but all are great books from the canon of Canadian literature.


The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood

Aimee Dars Ellis says:

One of my favorite books of all time, "The Handmaid's Tale," presents a dystopian future in which the United States government is taken over by a far-right religious faction.

Men loyal to the cause are given positions in the government. Women, on the other hand, are limited in their options — they can be Marthas, Wives, Handmaids, or Hookers with few exceptions. Government officials and their wives need handmaids because of a population crisis in which most women are unable to conceive.

The book tells the story of one Handmaid, her confined life, and how she arrived at this point. Beautifully written, this book is as relevant today as when it was written.


Not Wanted on the Voyage

by Timothy Findley

A surreal retelling of the story of Noah and the Ark that's both provocative and subversive.


The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

by Wayne Johnston

A work of historical fiction that focuses on the early life of Joey Smallwood, the man who brought Newfoundland into the Canadian fold, and his romance with Sheila, a woman haunted by her past.


Fall On Your Knees

by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Ashley from Scranton, PA says:

The first "big book" I read in high school, and I've been a big reader of Anne-Marie MacDonald ever since (check out "The Way the Crow Flies" as well). This story is one of like D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, in that it takes the reader back through generations to tell the story of a family. The characters all have their flaws, and the father can't seem to control his daughters (which is absolutely a good thing and makes for some interesting plot). There's also a fantastic play on "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen." A tale of finding yourself — a great read for people who love storytelling. The first sentence will pull you right in.

This book also appears on Oprah's Book Club


Burden of Desire

by Robert MacNeil

A supremely engrossing historical novel that takes place during the time of the Halifax Explosion, one of the most devastating events in Canadian history.


Anne of Green Gables

by L.M. Montgomery

Shannon Rigney Keane from I'm thinking... says:

If a girl finds this book in her hands at the right time, it will change her life. She will devour all eight of the books in the series, act out the crucial scenes with her best friend, and know how cool it is to be the smartest kid in the room. She might even take a trip to Prince Edward Island, so she can see where it all happened. (Not that I know anything about that.) Anne is an eleven-year-old orphan who loses herself in books to escape her life's hardships. When she is finally, accidentally, adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, they don't know what to do with this loving, strange girl whose romantic spirit gets her in trouble wherever she goes.


Open Secrets: Stories

by Alice Munro

The stories feature women harboring secrets, their lives shadowed by deceptions, both real and imagined. Munro effortlessly mixes reality with illusion, sometimes not letting the reader know which is which.


The Bird Artist

by Howard Norman

A cast of eccentric characters accentuates this “Newfoundland Gothic” story of betrayal, murder, love lost, and found.

This book also appears on In Honor of Darwin, A Menagerie of Species


As for Me and My House

by Robert Kroetsch, Sinclair Ross

An understated novel that takes place in a small, Depression-era Prairie town, examining the dynamics within a marriage amid the constraints of small-town life.


Changing Heaven

by Jane Urquhart

This unusual novel incorporates Emily Bronte and her novel "Wuthering Heights" into the storyline, which includes elements of magical realism with modern-day characters and a romantic plot.