The Best 21st Century Fictions out of Canada

shelved under Fiction

Canadian fiction is not a clearly defined or predictable genre. It is not a genre at all, really, since the commonality is merely the author’s nationality. So there is a full spectrum of fiction in this category, but the ones below are the best intelligent 21st century page-turners I've read in the past few years.


The Friends of Meager Fortune

by David A. Richards

When the working men sweat, you will sweat. It masquerades as historic fiction, well it is historic fiction, but this story is alive and brimming with sweat and pain and tension that you will feel acutely as you read.


The Cripple and His Talismans

by Anosh Irani

This is a fantastic journey through the back streets of Bombay led by the narrator who has lost his arm and is determined to find it! The journey is full of riddles and little tests and lots of humor.


The Stone Carvers

by Jane Urquhart

This is about the strength of women, but it is also about Canada’s small town histories, and it is about memorializing the World Wars. These elements are wonderfully mixed together and, with a little lost love plot tossed in as well, engaging.


Crow Lake

by Mary Lawson

This story goes back and forth between the central character’s childhood in a remote and rural community with no parents, and her urban and academic adult life. The juxtaposition of her two lives demonstrates some important struggles within families and between classes.


A Boy of Good Breeding

by Miriam Toews

The town’s claim to fame is being the smallest town in Canada and the mayor is obsessively concerned with every birth and death, trying to make sure the town’s population doesn’t grow! But there are lots of other plot lines in this small town fiction: drama and sadness with humor around the edges.


Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

This story is important and everyone should read it if you haven’t already. And it is easy to read because most of the book is a light narration of Pi’s childhood days in the zoo, followed by his amazing survival in a boat with a tiger. Or is it?



by Michael Ondaatje

It seems to me that Ondaatje can go anywhere in his fiction. Set in various towns across the USA, the story travels just like the characters over time. There is a mix of sub plots to keep the reader always looking for connections and, of course, divisions.