5 Diverse Reads by Vancouver Authors

Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson

Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson

By Rachel Rosenberg

The air is cold, the mountains are snow-capped, and if you are like me, this is the best time of year to find new reads to cuddle up by the fake Netflix fire (or a real one, sure). I want to offer you 5 suggestions for brilliant books by Vancouver authors, all of whom tell their incredible stories from marginalized perspectives. These all came out in the last year, so you should have no problem finding yourself a copy at any local Vancouver bookstore.

The Clothesline Swing
By Ahmad Danny Ramadan

The Clothesline Swing by Danny Ramadan

The Clothesline Swing by Ahmad Danny Ramadan

Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, a man only known as Hakawati (storyteller in Arabic) weaves the story of his long-term relationship with another man. Set in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, this beautiful, fairy tale-esque debut novel is set in Vancouver and Syria, but also draws the reader along to Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon. Ramadan’s gorgeous writing is full of heartbreaking details of war and uncomfortable truths about aging, and the relationship between the two men has moments of both deep tragedy and swoony romance.

Watch a video of Danny sharing his experience in Vancouver here.

The Tiger Flu
By Larissa Lai

The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai

The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai

In Lai’s imaginative future, mostly men seem to be contracting a disease (the titular Tiger Flu). There is a lot happening in this psychedelically cyber-punk romp, so settle in and get ready to make sense of the world of futuristic Salt Water City. Kirilow’s lover dies, so she heads off to the city to find someone to help her battle the pandemic. There, she meets Kora and they end up kidnapped by men wanting to use them as test subjects.

Sodom Road Exit
By Amber Dawn

Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn

Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn

Burdened by severe debt, Bailey moves back to her hometown of Crystal Beach, Ontario and in with her mother. It isn’t long before she discovers that she can communicate with a ghost who has been haunting an abandoned theme park since her death in the 1940s. Dawn’s novel is not quite horror, not quite erotica (though yes, there is a lesbian love triangle that includes a ghost), but a thoughtful, intelligent exploration of trauma and relationships. Dawn’s sexy, disturbing, occasionally hilarious novel was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year and one that the reader won’t soon forget.

Trickster Drift
By Eden Robinson

The second book in Robinson’s Trickster trilogy picks up with Jared, who has given up drinking, drugs and magic. In the first book, he lived with his mom — a powerful witch but unfortunately also a serious alcoholic. In Trickster Drift, he has been sober for a year and has left his home of Kitimat to attend school in Vancouver. He has moved in with his well-meaning but clueless Aunt Mave, who smothers him with affection while remaining very ignorant of the spirits who have taken up residence in her home. His mom’s ex, a yuppie-seeming psycho, has taken to stalking him, when the situation escalates, can Jared allow himself to return to magic? The novel is a mash-up of YA and Indigenous myths, and the way it dips into both comedy and horror makes for a great, addictive read.

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter
By David Chariandy

I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy

A non-fiction essay written to his thirteen-year-old-daughter, Chariandy has created an astonishingly tender missive about race and identity. Beginning with a hard-to-explain moment that took place while Chariandy was with his then three-year-old daughter, he unpacks personal and cultural racially inspired incidents. The son of Black and South Asian migrants from Trinidad, David’s poignant, beautifully sincere work will stay with readers long after the book’s end.

Rachel Rosenberg is a writer and library technician who is a proud member of the LGBTQ2+ community. She writes for Book Riot and can be found on Instagram @penandmitten 

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