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Looking for a good book to read while you're traveling in Canada? Check out my list of books about Canada and by Canadian authors, from renowned names such as Margaret Atwood to up-and-coming scribes.

Anil's Ghost

Michael Ondaatje
CATEGORIES: Sense of Culture

While the author is far more famous for his novel The English Patient (which won the Booker Prize), his subsequent novel takes place in his homeland of Sri Lanka during the country’s civil war. After fifteen years abroad Anil, a Sri Lankan forensic pathologist, returns as part of a United Nations human rights investigation. While researching an ancient burial ground with an archaeologist, the two discover a body that they believe to be the result of a government murder and cover-up. After moving to England and then Canada, Ondaatje received the Officer of the Order of Canada, recognizing him as one of Canada’s most renowned living authors. 

Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery
CATEGORIES: Classic/Culturally Significant

One of the world’s most enduring childhood classics, Anne of Green Gables has been translated into more than 30 languages and is one of the best-selling books ever. The titular Anne Shirley appears in several sequels and has made the transition to big and small screens almost too often to count. The books follow the outspoken orphan who mistakenly ends up living with two older siblings and explore how Anne works her way into their hearts and those of the townsfolk of Prince Edward Island’s fictional Avonlea.

Project Gutenberg

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood
CATEGORIES: Classic/Culturally Significant

While Margaret Atwood may be best known for The Handmaid’s Tale, her tenth novel, 2000’s The Blind Assassin, has garnered even more critical acclaim, winning both the Booker Prize and the Hammett Prize and landing on Time‘s 2016 list of the 100 best English-language novels since 1923. The multilayered novel weaves elements of science fiction, gothic suspense, and romance to tell the tale of the mysterious death — a possible suicide — of young Laura Chase in 1945. Decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recounts her memories of their childhood, and of the dramatic deaths that have punctuated their wealthy, eccentric family’s history.

The Polished Hoe

Austin Clarke
CATEGORIES: Sense of Culture

In 1950s Barbados, Miss Mary Gertrude Matilda Paul confesses a crime. The novel that follows spans just 24 hours but in that time manages to encapsulate the country’s history of slavery. With this, his tenth book, the Barbadian-born author said that he “intended to ‘creolize Oxford English.'” The result is a novel that garnered numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Canada (his adoptive country) and the Caribbean region and the Trillium Book Award.

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