The Greatest "Canada, Social & Cultural Fiction" Books of All Time

Click to learn how this list is calculated.

This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

Filter by: Genres Dates Countries
Follow on:



The "Canada" category for books would encompass literature that is set in, written by, or about Canada and its people. This category would include a wide range of genres, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and memoirs, and would explore various themes related to Canadian culture, history, and identity. Books in this category would offer readers a unique perspective on Canada and its diverse communities, landscapes, and experiences.

Social & Cultural Fiction

Social & Cultural Fiction is a literary category that encompasses novels and stories that delve into the complexities of society and culture, exploring themes such as class, race, gender, and identity within specific social contexts. These narratives often provide a lens through which readers can examine the intricacies of human relationships and the impact of cultural norms and societal structures on individuals and communities. By offering a fictional yet reflective portrayal of real-world social dynamics, this genre invites readers to gain a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences that shape our world. Authors in this category frequently use their characters and settings to comment on contemporary issues, challenge prevailing ideologies, and provoke thought about the possibility of social change, making Social & Cultural Fiction a powerful tool for empathy and a mirror for the ever-evolving human condition.

Add additional genre filters


Date Range


Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

  1. 1. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

    This book tells the story of a domesticated dog named Buck who is stolen from his home in California and sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska. As he faces harsh conditions and brutal treatment, Buck must learn to adapt to the wild and harsh environment, ultimately reverting to his ancestral instincts in order to survive. The book explores themes of nature versus nurture, civilization versus wilderness, and the struggle for dominance.

    The 159th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Obasan by Joy Kogawa

    The book is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of a Japanese-Canadian woman named Naomi, who reflects on her experiences during World War II. As a child, Naomi was forced into internment along with thousands of other Japanese-Canadians, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The narrative explores the themes of racism, identity, silence, and the power of memory, as Naomi grapples with the trauma of her past and the impact of her cultural heritage on her present life.

    The 841st Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

    The novel follows the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman, from her birth in Canada in 1905 to her death. It explores her experiences as a mother, wife, and widow, as well as her work as a gardener and her later years as a columnist. The book is unique in that it is written in a variety of styles including letters, diary entries, and third-person narrative, and it explores themes of identity, love, and the often overlooked lives of women.

    The 1039th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

    "Lives of Girls and Women" is a coming-of-age story about a young girl growing up in a small town in Canada during the 1940s. The novel explores the protagonist's journey towards self-discovery and understanding of the world around her. The protagonist grapples with societal expectations, familial relationships, and her own burgeoning sexuality, all while navigating the complexities of adolescence and the transition into adulthood. The book offers a profound exploration of the female experience, delving into themes of gender, identity, and the intricate dynamics of human relationships.

    The 1209th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Emigrants by Winfried Georg Sebald

    "The Emigrants" is a novel that explores the experiences and memories of four different emigrants, each with a unique and complex history. The narrative primarily focuses on the psychological impact of displacement and the haunting nature of the past. The author delves deep into their lives, revealing their struggles with identity, loss, and the persistent influence of their roots. The narrative is interwoven with historical events, photographs, and other documents, creating a rich tapestry that blurs the line between fact and fiction.

    The 1227th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro

    "Who Do You Think You Are?" is a collection of short stories that follow the life of a woman named Rose from her childhood in rural Ontario through her adulthood as she navigates the complexities of relationships, personal identity, and social class. The stories explore themes of self-discovery, the nature of memory, and the impact of personal history on one's present. The narrative is a deep exploration of the human condition, revealing the intricacies of the protagonist's experiences, emotions, and perceptions.

    The 1693rd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood

    The novel follows the journey of a young woman who returns to her childhood home in the Canadian wilderness to search for her missing father, accompanied by her lover and another couple. As she explores her past and grapples with her identity, she undergoes a mental and spiritual breakdown, eventually rejecting her previous life and embracing a primal existence in the wilderness. The narrative explores themes of gender, identity, and the clash between modern society and the natural world.

    The 1981st Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Runaway by Alice Munro

    "Runaway" is a collection of short stories that explore the depth of human relationships, the complexities of love, and the consequences of life's unpredictable turns. The stories revolve around women of varying ages and circumstances, each dealing with her own unique situation. Some are escaping from their past or present situations, while others are struggling to find their place in the world. The narratives delve into themes like betrayal, loss, and the often complicated dynamics between parents and children, and husbands and wives.

    The 2378th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy

    "The Tin Flute" is a poignant narrative set in the working-class district of Montreal during World War II. The story revolves around a young woman who struggles with poverty and the harsh realities of her life while dreaming of a better future. Despite the harshness of her life, she constantly battles to keep her family together and to find love and happiness, even in the most challenging circumstances. The book vividly portrays the struggles of the working class, the impact of war, and the human spirit's resilience.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

    "The Diviners" is a novel about a woman named Morag Gunn who grows up in small-town Manitoba, Canada, and becomes a successful novelist. The story follows Morag's life from childhood to adulthood, exploring her relationships, struggles, and personal growth. The narrative delves into themes of identity, memory, and the importance of understanding one's past. The protagonist's journey to self-discovery and acceptance is interwoven with the broader cultural and historical context of Canada in the mid-20th century.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Škvorecký

    The novel is a semi-autobiographical narrative of a Czechoslovakian writer who has become a professor at a Canadian university, teaching American literature. The narrative switches between his current life in Canada and his memories of the past in Czechoslovakia, including the Nazi occupation and the Communist regime. The book presents a complex portrayal of the life of an intellectual in exile and the challenges of cultural assimilation, while also exploring themes of love, politics, and the power of literature.

    The 2739th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Open Secrets: Stories by Alice Munro

    "Open Secrets: Stories" is a collection of eight short stories that delve into the complex lives of women, exploring themes of love, loss, and the secrets that bind and divide people. Set in various locations, from small-town Ontario to Australia, the stories feature characters grappling with their pasts, negotiating relationships, and confronting the mysteries of life. The narrative oscillates between past and present, revealing the profound and often unsettling truths hidden beneath the surface of ordinary lives.

    The 3056th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Purple Springs by Nellie L. McClung

    "Purple Springs" is a novel that continues the journey of its spirited protagonist, a young woman from the Canadian prairies who is determined to fight for women's rights and social justice. Set in the early 20th century, the narrative follows her as she navigates the challenges of political activism, advocating for suffrage, and pushing against the societal norms that restrict women's roles. Through her personal growth, community involvement, and unwavering commitment to her cause, the story captures the essence of the feminist movement of the time, highlighting the importance of perseverance, education, and the power of collective action in effecting change.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

    The novel is a poignant exploration of an elderly woman's life as she reflects on her past with a mixture of pride, bitterness, and regret. The protagonist, a feisty and independent 90-year-old, grapples with her impending death and the loss of her autonomy while recounting her life's journey. Through her eyes, readers experience the struggles of growing up in the prairies of Western Canada, her rebellious youth, the challenges of marriage and motherhood, and the weight of societal expectations. The narrative delves into themes of pride, aging, and the search for self-identity, as the protagonist confronts the stone angel monument that serves as a metaphor for her own unyielding nature and emotional isolation.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Moccasin Maker by E. Pauline Johnson

    "The Moccasin Maker" is a collection of short stories and essays that delve into the lives and experiences of Indigenous people at the turn of the 20th century. Through a blend of fiction and autobiographical elements, the work explores themes of identity, cultural conflict, and the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities in Canada. The author, herself of mixed heritage, provides a nuanced portrayal of the struggles and resilience of her characters, often challenging the prevailing stereotypes and offering a unique perspective on the complexities of living between two worlds. The stories are notable for their rich characterizations and the author's lyrical prose, which captures the beauty and sorrow of the cultural landscape she describes.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro

    "The Love of a Good Woman" is a collection of eight short stories, each delving into the complex nature of relationships, particularly focusing on women. The narratives explore various themes such as love, betrayal, death, and the often overlooked intricacies of everyday life. Set in small-town Canada, the stories are filled with characters grappling with their desires, secrets, and the unexpected turns of life, offering a profound and nuanced exploration of human behavior and emotions.

    The 4521st Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Sans Souci And Other Stories by Dionne Brand

    "Sans Souci and Other Stories" is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships, identity, and the immigrant experience. The narratives, set against diverse backdrops from the Caribbean to Canada, explore themes of love, loss, and the search for belonging. Through a tapestry of vivid characters and poignant moments, the stories examine the intricate ways in which personal and cultural histories intertwine, revealing the resilience and struggles of individuals as they navigate the nuances of life in a world marked by transitions and transformations.

    The 4969th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

    "Crow Lake" is a compelling novel that explores the dynamics of a rural Canadian family dealing with tragedy. After the death of their parents, the Morrison children struggle to stay together and maintain their family farm. The story is narrated by the youngest daughter, who is now a successful zoologist, reflecting back on her childhood. The narrative delves into themes of love, loss, survival, and the power of education, all set against the backdrop of the harsh, yet beautiful, northern Ontario landscape.

    The 5370th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Lost Salt Gift Of Blood by Alistair MacLeod

    The collection of short stories delves into the lives of individuals from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, exploring the deep connections between the rugged landscape and the people who inhabit it. The narratives are woven with themes of isolation, the unbreakable bonds of family, and the bittersweet pull of tradition versus the desire for change. Through evocative prose, the stories capture the complexities of human relationships and the ways in which the characters' lives are inextricably linked to the land and the sea, revealing the profound impact of heritage on personal identity and the universal quest for belonging.

    The 6124th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

    "Washington Black" is a historical novel by Esi Edugyan that tells the story of a young slave named George Washington Black, who is forced to flee a plantation in Barbados with the help of his master's brother. The two embark on a journey that takes them across the globe, from the Caribbean to the Arctic, and Washington Black discovers his talent for scientific illustration. Along the way, he faces challenges and struggles with his identity as a black man in a world dominated by white men. The novel explores themes of freedom, identity, and the impact of colonialism on individuals and societies.

    The 6559th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

    In this introspective novel, a diary washes ashore on a remote Canadian island, bridging two disparate worlds. The journal, written by Nao, a troubled Japanese teenager, chronicles her life, her contemplation of suicide, and her relationship with her great-grandmother, a Zen Buddhist nun. The diary is discovered by a novelist, who becomes engrossed by Nao's story and is compelled to unravel the mysteries of Nao's fate and her own connection to the young girl. As the novelist reads, the boundaries between writer and reader, past and present, fiction and reality blur, creating a meditation on time, loss, and the intricate threads that connect human lives across the globe.

    The 6621st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

    All My Puny Sorrows is a poignant exploration of the complex relationship between two sisters, one a successful concert pianist battling severe depression and the other a struggling writer trying to support her. The narrative delves into themes of mental illness, suicide, love, and the power of familial bonds. It grapples with the moral and ethical questions surrounding assisted suicide, the struggle to understand a loved one's pain, and the lengths to which one might go to help them find peace.

    The 6668th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. The Moons Of Jupiter by Alice Munro

    "The Moons of Jupiter" is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships, particularly those between family members and close friends. The narratives explore themes of mortality, life choices, and personal growth through the lens of the protagonist, Janet, and other vividly drawn characters. Set against the backdrop of Canadian landscapes, the stories blend everyday occurrences with profound emotional insights, revealing the subtle yet powerful forces that shape our lives. Through her nuanced storytelling, the author captures the intricacies of love, loss, and the passage of time, offering a reflective look at the ties that bind us.

    The 7020th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Away by Jane Urquhart

    The novel revolves around the story of four generations of women connected by their lineage and the haunting pull of a mysterious Irish island. The narrative weaves through the lives of these women, exploring themes of love, loss, and the complex ties to homeland. It begins with a young girl's enchantment with a shipwrecked sailor on the shores of Ireland, follows her emigration to Canada, and traces the impact of her experiences on her descendants. The book captures the lyrical beauty of the natural world and the way in which personal and historical narratives are deeply intertwined, painting a portrait of enduring emotional legacies and the ways in which our ancestors' choices reverberate through time.

    The 7093rd Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Something I've Been Meaning To Tell You by Alice Munro

    The book is a collection of thirteen short stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships and the intricacies of life in small-town and rural Canada. Through a masterful use of language and deep psychological insight, the stories explore themes of memory, loss, love, and the passage of time, often focusing on the lives of women and the subtle dramas that unfold in the seemingly mundane. The narratives are rich with detail and reveal the author's keen observation of the nuances of everyday life, capturing the moments of revelation that can alter one's understanding of oneself and others.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.