(Probably) The Best Novels of 2012

In No Particular Order …

Well, except the fact I do have one favourite here: Billie’s One Good Hustle.
One Good Hustle – longlisted for this year’s Giller Prize – is the latest work from Danuta Gleed winner, and CBC Bookie winner, and Journey Prize & Pat Lowther finalist, Billie Livingston. Fittingly, for such a well-received writer of short fiction, Billie’s novel has the verve and punch of a short story packed into her novel. It’s even broken into small bursts and scenes. Livingston’s lively novel reads effortlessly and excels in crafting the believable world of Sammie Bell – an extremely likeable and precocious teen torn between caring for her wayward con artist mother, and starting a new life. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s well-paced, and laced with unforgettable characters: particularly the mom, Marlene. The mother-daughter bond in this book is fantastically rendered and 500 miles east of cliche. somewhere, in their dysfunctional relationship lies everything beautiful and devastating about family ties.  As well, tackling a teenaged narrator is risky business: one inauthentic line of dialogue, one poorly conceived reaction to a social situation at that age – and things read less like fiction and more like someone trying to imagine a life. Livingston never falters once in that regard, and Sammie Bell is an applaudable example of how a writer ought to pull off a teen POV.

Obviously, I have not read every Canadian novel of 2012.

Marjorie Celona, Christine Pountney, Alix Ohlin, Anakana Schofield, Tamara Faith Berger, Corey Redekop, Bill Gaston, Billie Livingston, And Emily Schultz. It’s not likely you’ve read al lthese peoples’ 2012 novels. And now you know what to do.

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