Books set in Canada, but by authors of other nationalities...?

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Books set in Canada, but by authors of other nationalities...?

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Jan 20, 2008, 4:09 pm

Although Stef Penney is actually a Scottish author who has never visted Canada, her debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves (which won the 2006 Costa Book Award), is set in Canada in 1867.

It is 1867, Canada: as winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead man's cabin head north towards the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township - journalists, Hudson's Bay Company men, trappers, traders - but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One-by-one the assembled searchers set out from Dove River, pursuing the tracks across a desolate landscape home only to wild animals, madmen and fugitives, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for 17 years, a Native American culture, and a fortune in stolen furs before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly waves adventure, suspense, revelation and humour into a panoramic historical romance, an exhilarating thriller, a keen murder mystery and ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, one of the books of the year.

I'm about half-way through this and am loving it.

Fev 1, 2008, 9:49 pm

It sounds interesting. I will add it to my list to read.

Ago 21, 2008, 9:38 am

Willa Cather's book Shadows on the Rock is set in Québec. It is the only Cather book I have ever read and I plowed through it in one sitting, so I may not have devoted the time I should, but I did not really enjoy it. It felt to me as if the setting was just a novelty, and she threw in random French words and phrases every now and then just to make it look authentic, but these felt very forced to me. If anyone else has a different opinion I would be interested in hearing it.

Ago 21, 2008, 10:41 am

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx jumps to mind.

Also, Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison, set partially in Canada.

Ago 23, 2008, 7:38 am

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney is set in Canada, but the author has never been here. She does a pretty good job -- she certainly understands the importance of geography as the land itself becomes almost a character in the novel.

Mar 23, 2009, 8:39 pm

It may not count because it's postapocolyptic, but, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is set in Atlantic Canada.

Editado: Abr 5, 2009, 7:46 pm

Sous les vents de Neptune by French crime novelist, Fred Vargas, is half set in Paris, half in Hull - Gatineau, Québec. Being in Ottawa, I was super excited and recognized all sorts of local sites including the portage trail along the Outaouais river and Lake Pink. Commissaire Adamsberg goes there to learn about the RCMP's super sophisticated genetics database. Vargas obviously had fun making her Canadian characters speak with a strong accent and showing the differences between French and Canadian expressions. It's not an altogether very flattering portrait (but it's part of the plot with the RCMP trying to blame the French for a murder!...), but she does a great job of capturing the geography and local particularities.

Editado: Out 3, 2009, 7:45 pm

The Last Witness by British writer John Matthews. I'm guessing a Canadian admirer: although most of his book is set in Montreal, he is sure to mention Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton... he does a good job of the geography and winding through the streets of Montreal, Beaconsfield, Laval (spelled Lavalle) and Longueuil but his understanding of Canadians is limited... a fun read just for that!

Out 3, 2009, 8:27 pm

Next year, we'll see a new novel from Richard Ford, Canada, which is set in Saskatchewan.

Jan 28, 2010, 8:11 am

Great to have your perspective. I think her 'prejudices" are tounge in cheek, but of course like all crime writers she likes to mock police bureaucracies!