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Everything’s Coming Up Fiction: 13 Books to Read in April

Our list features a moveable Paris feast from Ruth Reichl, Don Winslow’s last novel and Canadian stories about polygamous B.C. Mormons and a Chinese laundry in Ontario / BY Nathalie Atkinson / March 26th, 2024


Our picks of the most exciting fiction releases this month feature rich debut novels inspired by true crime and family history, optimistic dystopia (yes, really!) and social satire, plus Ruth Reichl’s Paris escapism and the grand finale to Don Winslow’s mob saga – and career. 

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1The Laundryman’s Boyby Edward Y.C. Lee

Chinese teenager Hoi Wing Woo comes to St. Catharines, Ont., in 1913 to work in a laundry, where he struggles with the harsh demands of his new employer, as well as the casual bigotry of the locals, while also experiencing the rollercoaster of first love. The Montreal-born, Toronto-based former lawyer’s debut is loosely based on the lives of his grandfathers, both of whom came to Canada at the turn of the 20th century. (Apr. 2)


2City in Ruinsby Don Winslow

After nearly 30 years, the internationally bestselling American author, 70, of The Cartel trilogy presents the third and last instalment in his City trilogy, which the former investigator and anti-terrorist trainer has declared will be his final novel. The story of gangster Danny Ryan (now a billionaire Las Vegas mogul), which also chronicles the feud between Irish and Italian criminals in Rhode Island, comes to an explosive end as Ryan has to return to his scrappy fighter roots to preserve everything he’s built; the upcoming film will star Elvis’s Austin Butler. (Apr. 2)


3What’s Not Mineby Nora Decter

The rural-set, darkly funny coming-of-age tale by this Winnipeg author who won the Kobo emerging writer prize has been likened to CanLit superstar Miriam Toews. It demonstrates the same simultaneous tragedy and uplift: On the cusp of 16, Bria Powers is an adolescent in crisis who’s been sent to live with her aunt for the summer. While working at a fast food joint, she deals with broken relationships and the cycle of addiction, and takes care of her young cousins. Where Decter’s writing shines is in the authenticity of her experience and resilience in difficult circumstances. (Apr. 2)


4I Cheerfully Refuseby Leif Enger

In the near-future America of this wondrous nautical adventure, billionaires are the ruling class – they’ve made reading and books treasonous, therefore illiteracy is rampant (and greed rules, so kindness is scarce). Mourning his beloved wife Lark, bereaved musician Rainy sets sail on a sentient Lake Superior in the hopes of finding her spirit. That’s right: The body of water becomes a character as much as the various people Rainy meets while navigating the broken world. If there is such a thing as a hopeful dystopian story, the Minnesota-based author of the modern classic, Peace Like a River, delivers it here. (Apr. 2)


5Atta Boyby Cally Fiedorek

Pitched as a Bonfire of the Vanities for this century, the Pushcart Prize-winning New  York author’s debut is an insightful portrait of clashing socioeconomic worlds, charting the ambitious climb of 25-year-old Rudy, who comes from Queens, up the dubious ladder of success. He starts out as the night doorman of an apartment building on Park Avenue, and is taken on, first as a bodyguard, and then as an essential helper to a wealthy resident (a corrupt taxi mogul). Soon, Rudy is unwittingly back in the sphere of his own family, who had sent him out into the world to make his own way. (Apr. 2)


6Table for Twoby Amor Towles

This anthology collects short fiction from the bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and A Gentleman in Moscow (now a TV series starring Ewan McGregor). Six are New York stories, while the novella dips back into the 1930s world of his 2011 breakout, Rules of Civility. It presents the further adventures of Eve as she shapes a life for herself against the backdrop of the studio system of Golden Age Hollywood, through both afro-Cuban dance clubs and Beverly Hills, and into the less glamorous, often seedy side, of Los Angeles. (Apr. 2)


7The Night in Questionby Susan Fletcher

I was expecting a cosy whodunit with elderly amateur sleuths in the vein of Richard Osman’s wildly popular Thursday Murder Club series. I did not expect to sob happily and so often; this book is firmly on my Best Of 2024 list. Perky 87-year-old Florrie Butterfield, who uses a wheelchair, enlists friends at her Oxfordshire retirement residence to look into the manager’s accidental death. A mystery unfurls, but more importantly, so does the story of Florrie’s extraordinary personality and her life of love, companionship and adventure, in a moving story about friendship, forgiveness and mending the past. (Apr. 2)


8Maniaby Lionel Shriver

“I was disturbed by the 21st century’s many conformist social hysterias,” the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin explains of this hotly anticipated novel. Set in an alternate 2011 America, where the Mental Parity Movement – which prohibits discrimination against the stupid – dominates the culture wars and threatens the lifelong friendship of two women. Expect provocative commentary on the current state of affairs: Critics are hailing the novel as a “scary-smart and scathing satire.” (Apr. 9)


9The Celestial Wifeby Leslie Howard

Fans of historical fiction about women’s rights will be enthralled to read about 15-year-old Daisy who, in 1964, escapes a forced marriage in her fictional polygamist community called Redemption, only to be called back years later to help her childhood best friend. Elements are based on the true story of the Mormon fundamentalist community on the Canada-U.S. border in Bountiful, B.C. (established as an offshoot of the infamous Utah chapter), where polygamy is still practised today despite the criminal convictions of two leaders in 2018. The B.C. novelist known for The Brideship Wife lays bare the cultish patriarchal and sexist constructs. (Apr. 9)


10Butterby Asako Yuzuki, trans. by Polly Barton

Taking inspiration from the real 2012 case of a serial-killer chef, this gripping 2017 Japanese bestseller about a gourmet cook turned murderer is newly translated into English. It follows the destructive relationship between Rika, a female investigative journalist, and the convicted killer Kajii, after the reporter requests a recipe as a pretext to initiate contact. As their gastronomic exchanges about the transgressive pleasures of food escalate, the power dynamic becomes ever more dysfunctional. (Apr. 16)


11Luckyby Jane Smiley

The moody cover reminiscent of a vintage album design should be your first clue that the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres is tracing the trajectory of a budding folksinger. No surprise, then, that midwestern 1960s university student Jodie Rattle’s – whose unexpected hit leads her on a bohemian journey that eventually returns her to family roots – draws on the lives of real talents like Judy Collins and Joan Baez. The novel hinges on the exploration of what it means to be lucky and has an interesting meta-narrative twist. (Apr. 23)


12The Paris Novelby Ruth Reichl

A decade ago the beloved American cook, food critic and former Gourmet editor, 76, made her fiction debut with the roman à clef, Delicious. Character and plot may not be her strength, but in this follow-up, Reichl brings the full measure of her considerable descriptive powers to the City of Light in 1983. The preparation and enjoyment of food are especially mouth-watering as we follow timid Stella’s awakening after she inherits a one-way ticket to Paris from her estranged mother. The escapist fairy tale on the level of Emily in Paris (or if Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris were a book) features every last delectable morsel of moveable feast cliché – a vintage Dior dress, a visit to Les Deux Magots literary brasserie and even a stint living at Shakespeare & Company. To see what Reichl has to say about writing the book, read our Q&A with Corey Mintz. (Apr. 23)


13Real Americansby Rachel Khong

The Californian writer of the acclaimed 2017 debut, Goodbye, Vitamin, spans three generations of a family who interrogate their place in the world. The novel follows a Chinese-American family from 1960s Communist China to contemporary Silicon Valley, after two geneticists leave during the Cultural Revolution and start a family there. Winding across their respective timelines (one begins on the eve of Y2K, with all its fraught uncertainty, for example) and narrated by different voices, each generation considers ideas of status, belonging, identity and inheritance and offers commentary on the social constructs of class and race. (Apr. 30)


THE SCROLL

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2024 Giller Prize: Noah Richler, Kevin Chong and Molly Johnson Among Jury MembersAuthor Noah Richler is chairing the jury for this year's Giller Prize, an award's body his father literary icon Mordecai Richler helped launch in 1994.


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2023 Booker Prize: Irish Writer Paul Lynch Wins For Dystopian ‘Prophet Song’Canadian Booker Prize jury chair Esi Edugyan called the novel a "a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave."


Sarah Bernstein’s ‘Study for Obedience’ Wins 2023 Scotiabank Giller PrizeThe author, who gave birth to a daughter 10 days ago, accepted the award remotely from her home in the Scottish Highlands


Governor General’s Literary Awards: Anuja Varghese’s ‘Chrysalis’ Among This Year’s WinnersEach of the 14 writers, illustrators and translators will receive a prize of $25,000


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Five Authors Shortlisted for This Year’s $100,000 Scotiabank Giller PrizeDionne Irving and Kevin Chong are among the finalists who "probe what it means to be human, to survive, and to be who we are"


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Booker Prize Longlist ‘Defined by its Freshness’ as Nominees RevealedEsi Edugyan, chair of the 2023 judges, said each of the 13 novels "cast new light on what it means to exist in our time."


Barack Obama Releases His 2023 Summer Reading ListThe list includes the latest novel by Canadian-born New Zealand author Eleanor Catton.


David Suzuki Takes Inspiration From His Own Grandchildren for New Kid’s Book ‘Bompa’s Insect Expedition’The book features Suzuki and two of his grandchildren exploring the insect population in their own backyard.


Milan Kundera, Author of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, Dies at 94Kundera won global accolades for the way he depicted themes and characters that floated between the mundane reality of everyday life and the lofty world of ideas.


Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Dark Genius of American Literature, Dead at 89McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2006 novel 'The Road.'


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The Late Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Is Honoured with an American StampThe Obamas and Oprah Winfrey pay tribute to the writer whose poetic interpretations of the African American experience gained a world-wide audience


Five Canadian Writers Make the Long List for the Inaugural Carol Shields Prize for FictionThe US$150,000 English-language literary award for female and nonbinary writers redresses the inequality of women in the publishing world


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Sheila Heti and Eli Baxter Among 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award WinnersToronto writer Sheila Heti took home the fiction award for 'Pure Colour,' a novel the GG peer assessment committee called "a work of genius."


Suzette Mayr Wins $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter’The 2022 Giller Prize jury called Mayr's novel "alive and immediate — and eerily contemporary."


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Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker PrizeKarunatilaka won the prestigious prize on Monday for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.


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Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


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Rawi Hage, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Sheila Heti Make the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Long ListThe jury read 138 books to choose 14 titles for the long list, one of which will win the $100,000 prize, one of the richest in Canadian literature


Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


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Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


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The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


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