evergreen


Ontario Library Association
Evergreen Reading Award™ Program

NOMINEES FOR 2010


 

 

The Brutal Telling
Written by Louise Penny

Once again, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec is in the picturesque village of Three Pines, this time he and his team are investigating the murderer of a hermit. The discovery of the body in the local bistro, a place that for many is the heart of the village, has upset the harmony of life in the village. As Gamache investigates, and clues are revealed, past and present collide with what will be heartbreaking results. This is a mystery in which it is not so much about “who did it” but rather “why they did it” and as Gamache digs into the heart of the crime the reader is lead through a multi- layered tale. (_The Brutal Telling has been nominated for an Agatha Award in the U.S. for best novel of 2009.)

 

 

Burmese Lessons: A Love Story
Written by Karen Connelly

In the mid 1990s, the young Karen Connelly had been sent to Burma by PEN Canada to gather information for a series of articles on political prisoners.
Burmese Lessons is the account of her experiences over a few months, first in Rangoon and then in Thailand. It is a story of love for the land, the people, their political struggle and in particular her undeterred love for one man.
Connelly recounts her experiences with the political dissidents and the ordinary people that she meets – the passionate agenda of the dissidents trying to voice their protests against a frighteningly repressive military regime and the ordinary people trying to cope with the limitations of daily life. She watches mothers trying to feed children on meagre rations, very young boys supporting families by working long hours under crushing burdens on building sites, inflation leading to poverty, the corruption, the breakdown of civil life, the heavy censorship, the constant fear of military oppression, the brave but futile protests, the awe-inspiring figure of Aung San Suu Kyi, political rallies disrupted by police brutality, and through it all the people’s refusal to be silent, the hand held out in friendship, the writers’ passion for discussion of books, people’s generosity even when they have little to give, and the overriding sense of humanity in the face of oppression.
The second part of the book is set in the border country between Thailand and Burma. The jungles are inhabited by political dissidents, refugees, people hiding from the law.
Connelly spends a few weeks here with her lover, a leader of one of the resistance groups. He is first and foremost a political leader. Connelly is aware that everything is sacrificed for the bigger political picture. Nevertheless through her involvement with him, she comes to understand what it is to live marginally, physically, emotionally and psychologically. She finds a greater understanding of herself and feels connected to those whose lives are lived on the thin edge.
In Burmese Lessons, Connelly exposes the dark underside of a repressive regime and the indomitable spirit of a nation that will not succumb to it.
Connelly, an award winning poet, is the author of nine books. The Lizard Cage, the story of a Burmese poet serving a long prison term for political protest, won the Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers in Britain in 2007. She won the Governor General’s Award for Non Fiction for Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal in 1993.

 

 

Come, Thou Tortoise
Written by Jessica Grant

Who could have predicted that a novel set in Newfoundland with a talking tortoise as a supporting character would be as fresh and funny and full of fantastic word play as this novel is? Audrey Flowers has been living with her boyfriend in Oregon when she is summoned home to her father’s bedside as he lies in a coma after being critically injured in an accident with a Christmas tree. Audrey, dubbed Oddly by her beloved Uncle Thoby, is the brainiest person with a low IQ on the planet. As she grieves the loss of her father, she begins to come to terms with who he was and discovers herself along the way. As Audrey’s alter ego, Winnifred is the funniest tortoise you’d ever expect to meet between two book covers. Newfoundland charm seeps through the pages of a book you won’t want to end.

 

 

February
Written by Lisa Moore

In 1982, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a Valentine's Day storm. All eighty-four men aboard died. February is the story of Helen O'Mara, one of those left behind when her husband, Cal, drowns. It begins in the present-day, but spirals back again and again to the "February" that persists in Helen's mind and heart.
In her external life, Helen O'Mara cleans and does yoga and looks after her grandchildren and shakes hands with solitude. In her internal life, she continually revisits Cal. Then, one night she gets a phone call: her son John is coming home. He has made a girl pregnant after a brief, sex-filled week in Iceland. As John grapples with what it might mean to be a father, Helen comes to terms with her need to remember the dead.

 

 

The Heart Specialist
Written by Claire Holden Rothman

Clare Holden Rothman’s debut novel is set in Montreal in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The novel introduces the reader to a remarkable character – Agnes White. As a child, Agnes is able to pursue her interest in science, through the efforts of her governess. She manages to overcome obstacles and eventually study medicine at McGill. Her love of anatomy, lead her to study the heart. While Agnes becomes an expert on the human heart as an organ, she lacks an understanding of the human heart from an emotional standpoint. The book is loosely based on the career of Maude Abbott. Both Maude and Agnes are exceptional women in an age where women struggled for acceptance in a male-dominated world.

 

 

The Mystery of Grace
Written by Charles de Lint

Three years after his last major adult novel, Charles de Lint returns with a new tale of magic, loss, and redemption, his first book set in the Southwest. Centered on a remarkable female protagonist and entirely self-contained, this is a modern contemporary fantasy as invented band pioneered by de Lint himself. Altagracia—her friends call her Grace—has a tattoo of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia on her shoulder; she's got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg; and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that'll never wash out.
Grace works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. A few blocks around her small apartment building is all her world—from the grocery store where she buys beans, tamales and cigarettes to the library, the little record shop, and the Solona Music Hall. Which is where she meets John Burns, just two weeks too late.
Grace and John fall for one another, and that would be wonderful, except that they're both haunted by unfinished business. Before their relationship can be resolved, they're both going to have to learn things they don't know about the world of the living and the world beyond. About why it's necessary to let some things go.

 

 

Old City Hall
Written by Robert Rotenberg

Kevin Brace, Canada’s most famous radio personality, stands in the door of his luxury condominium, hands covered in blood, and announces to his newspaper delivery man: “I killed her.” His wife lies dead in the bathtub, fatally stabbed.
It would appear to be an open-and-shut case.
The trouble is, Brace refuses to talk to anyone – including his own lawyer – after muttering those incriminating words. With the discovery that the victim was actually a self-destructive alcoholic, the appearance of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and a revealing courtroom cross-examination, the seemingly simple case takes on all the complexities of a hotly contested murder trial. Meantime, much to everyone’s surprise, the Leafs are making an unlikely run for the Stanley cup.

 

 

Oonagh
Written by Mary Tilberg

“Beautifully written by this masterful storyteller, Oonagh draws us into a story of race and class, joy and sorrow, fear and newfound freedom writ large. The tale of Chauncey Taylor’s flight to freedom, his success in his barbering business in Upper Canada, and his love for his sharp-tongued Irish lass are painted with a fine hand, as are the underlying tensions of race and class that threaten their union.”

 

 

Small Beneath the Sky
Written by Lorna Crozier

A marvelous volume of poignant recollections by one of Canada’s most
celebrated poets, Small beneath the Sky is a tender, unsparing portrait of a family. It is also a book about place. Crozier vividly depicts her hometown of Swift Current during the fifties and early sixties, with its one main street, its two high schools, and its three beer parlors, where her father spent most of his evenings. She captures crystal-clear moments from her childhood and writes unflinchingly about the grief and shame caused by poverty and alcoholism. At the heart of the book is Crozier’s fierce love for her mother, Peggy. The narratives of daily life, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, are interspersed with prose poems.
Rich in detail, generous in spirit, this unconventional memoir pays tribute to life’s mysteries, secrets, and surprises. Lorna Crozier approaches the past with a tactile, arms-wide-open sense of discovery, tracing her beginnings with a poet’s precision and an open heart.

 

 

Underground
Written by June Hutton

Sixteen-year-old Albert Fraser believes that serving in the First World War will make him a man. What he doesn’t realize is the type of man he will become, until a shell blast buries him alive in a trench at the Somme. Albert emerges from the war with a driving need to fill the empty spaces left by the shrapnel that continues to burrow beneath his skin. Back home in Vancouver, he works to keep busy and when the Great Depression hits, he rides the rails and takes jobs as they come, eventually finding his way to the Yukon. But with no real place to call home, he seems destined to wander aimlessly.
When the Spanish Civil War erupts, he seeks out Picasso’s Guernica and sees in the painting a reflection of what his life has become. Now he travels to Spain, a soldier once more, to reclaim all he has lost — or to die trying.