Friday, November 27, 2009

O Canada!

NEWSFLASH: Jim Bartley of the Toronto Globe picks Amphibian, by Carla Gunn from Coach House Books, and The Briss, by Michael Tregebov from New Star Books, as among the Top 5 first-fiction books of 2009:

Carla Gunn
$17.95 | paper | 220 pp.
Coach House Books
ISBN: 9781552452141

Fiction. In AMPHIBIAN, we meet nine-year-old Phineas William Walsh who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. He's obsessed with animals; it's practically all he talks about. He spends all his spare time watching the Green Channel and researching obscure facts on the internet or in books. And he's worried sick about what humans are doing to the planet and its other animals. So when his Grade 4 class gets a pet frog—a White's Tree Frog from Australia—it becomes the perfect focus for all Phin's worrying. Carla Gunn's work has been published in the Globe and Mail, the National Post and heard on CBC radio. Along with writing, she teaches psychology. This is her first novel.

Michael Tregebov
$19 | paper | 240 pp.
New Star Books
ISBN: 9781554200436

Fiction. There is a Jewish proverb that goes: "Grandchildren are your reward from God for not having murdered your children." And so THE BRISS begins, with Sammy, the father of two grown children he would like to choke the life out of. His daughter Marilyn has just ended an affair that should have been kept a secret. In the meantime, his younger son, Teddy, who had left months ago on a ten-day Birthright Israel tour, got himself mixed up with gush shalom Israelis who introduced him to a diaspora Palestinian woman visiting her ailing grandmother in Ramallah. Teddy falls in love with her, and, well, knocks her up. Sammy, who fought in Israel in '48 but moved back home to Winnipeg years ago, a move he has regretted, is forced into an angry struggle with his son that reveals all their unresolved emotional conflicts. A wildly entertaining and poignant novel, THE BRISS explores, on a personal level, family relationships, and on a political level, the continuing debate about Jewish identity and its connection to Israel and Palestine.

No comments: