The Greatest Canadian "Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 264 '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.

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  1. 1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

    A young Indian boy named Pi Patel survives a shipwreck and finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Over the course of 227 days, Pi uses his knowledge of animal behavior and survival skills to coexist with the tiger, ultimately leading to an unusual and deeply spiritual journey. The story explores themes of faith, survival, and the interpretation of reality.

  2. 2. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

    The novel is a complex narrative that weaves together the story of two sisters in early 20th century Canada, one of whom publishes a scandalous novel that leads to her suicide. The surviving sister, now an elderly woman, reflects on their lives, revealing family secrets, heartbreak, and the truth behind the scandalous novel. The narrative is interspersed with excerpts from the controversial book, a science fiction story within a story, adding layers of intrigue and mystery.

  3. 3. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

    "Station Eleven" is a post-apocalyptic novel that revolves around the lives of several characters before and after a devastating flu pandemic wipes out most of the world's population. The narrative jumps back and forth in time, exploring the interconnectedness of the characters' lives through their shared memories and experiences. The story also follows a traveling Shakespearean theatre company as they navigate the dangers of a collapsed civilization, emphasizing the importance of art and human connection in times of crisis.

  4. 4. Unless by Carol Shields

    The novel is a narrative about a middle-aged, successful writer who is grappling with the sudden and inexplicable decision of her eldest daughter to drop out of college and live on the streets. The daughter communicates only one word, "Goodness", which she writes on a cardboard sign. The story explores the protagonist's struggle to understand her daughter's choice, while also delving into themes of feminism, the nature of goodness, and the power of words.

  5. 5. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

    Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the novel follows the life of Snowman, who believes he may be the last human on earth, as he struggles to survive in a new, harsh environment. He is surrounded by genetically modified creatures, and his only companions are the Crakers, human-like beings created by his brilliant but disturbed friend Crake. Through Snowman's memories, the story of how the world came to be this way is revealed, involving a love triangle with the mysterious Oryx and the catastrophic consequences of Crake's scientific experiments.

  6. 6. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

    In this humorous and cleverly illustrated children's book, a bear searches for his missing hat, asking various animals along the way if they have seen it. As the bear's frustration grows, readers are left to wonder if the bear will ever find his hat and what might happen when he does.

  7. 7. 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.

  8. 8. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

    This novel is a semi-autobiographical exploration of friendship, art, and the question posed by the title. The protagonist, a young playwright, struggles with her art and personal life, navigating complicated relationships and seeking answers about how to live a good and meaningful life. The narrative blends elements of fiction, memoir, self-help, and philosophy, resulting in a unique and thought-provoking exploration of identity, creativity, and the human condition.

  9. 9. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

    "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" is a collection of nine short stories that explore the complexities of human relationships. Each story delves into the intricate web of emotions and experiences that define the human condition, including love, hate, friendship, courtship, and marriage. The characters are rendered with depth and nuance, their lives marked by moments of profound change and subtle transformation. The stories are set against the backdrop of rural and urban landscapes, offering a rich, evocative portrayal of life in all its complexities and contradictions.

  10. 10. The Beauty Of The Husband by Anne Carson

    "The Beauty of the Husband" is a poetic exploration of a failing marriage. Told in 29 tangos, the narrative unfolds the story of a woman who remains in love with her husband despite his numerous infidelities. The husband, a charming and deceitful character, is portrayed as a figure of magnetic attraction and revulsion, with his wife drawn to his charisma and repelled by his dishonesty. The book is a profound examination of love, betrayal, and the complex dynamics of relationships.

  11. 11. De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage

    The novel delves into the lives of two childhood friends navigating the treacherous landscape of war-torn Beirut. As the city crumbles under the weight of the Lebanese Civil War, the young men find themselves drawn into the violence and chaos that surrounds them. One chooses the path of emigration, seeking a new life abroad, while the other becomes embroiled in the militia warfare that dominates the streets. Their friendship is tested by the brutality of their environment, as they grapple with the moral complexities of survival, loyalty, and the devastating impact of conflict on the human spirit.

  12. 12. The Rage Of Dragons by Evan Winter

    The book is a gripping fantasy tale set in a world inspired by African mythology, where a caste-driven society is locked in a perpetual war with hordes of dragons. The protagonist, born into the lowest caste, discovers an extraordinary ability to summon the power of dragons and seeks to use this power to avenge the injustices done to his people and to ascend beyond his preordained station. His quest for revenge and personal transformation is fraught with battles, political intrigue, and the challenge of overcoming a rigid social hierarchy, all while the fate of the kingdom hangs in the balance.

  13. 13. 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.

  14. 14. Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton

    Chanda's Secrets is a poignant story set in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the protagonist, a sixteen-year-old girl, grapples with the harsh reality of AIDS in her community. The novel explores the stigma and fear associated with the disease, as well as the courage and resilience of its characters. The protagonist's unwavering determination to keep her family together, despite societal pressures and personal tragedy, forms the crux of the narrative.

  15. 15. 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.

  16. 16. Through The Woods by Emily Carroll

    "Through the Woods" is a haunting collection of five eerie and atmospheric graphic stories that delve into the dark and unsettling world of fairy tales and folklore. Each tale is a standalone narrative, rich with gothic themes and chilling twists, exploring the sinister things that lurk in the forest and the horrors that await in the shadows. The book's striking and evocative illustrations complement the spine-tingling tales, creating an immersive experience that draws readers into the depths of the woods where the boundary between reality and nightmare blurs. With its blend of horror, suspense, and the supernatural, the book captivates with its exploration of fear and the unknown.

  17. 17. Witchmark by C. L. Polk

    In a world where magic is both a gift and a curse, a war veteran with secret healing powers must conceal his abilities to avoid being enslaved by his own family. When a fatally poisoned patient reveals a dire conspiracy, the healer is thrust into a dangerous investigation that exposes his hidden heritage and pits him against a powerful and oppressive magical elite. As he delves deeper, he must navigate a complex web of political intrigue, forbidden romance, and family secrets, all while trying to prevent a magical war that could destroy everything he holds dear.

  18. 18. Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje

    "Anil's Ghost" is a gripping tale of a forensic anthropologist who returns to her native Sri Lanka in the midst of its civil war. She partners with local archaeologist, Sarath, to investigate a skeleton discovered in an ancient burial site, which they believe might be a victim of the war. The narrative explores the horrors of war, the quest for truth, and the struggle for personal and national identity in a land where the past and present are inextricably intertwined.

  19. 19. Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

    "Bury Your Dead" is a gripping mystery novel that intertwines three separate storylines. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is haunted by a previous case gone wrong while he investigates a murder in Quebec City. Simultaneously, a historian delves into the history of the city, unearthing secrets that could change its perception forever. As the two narratives unfold, the past and present collide, revealing shocking truths and forcing Gamache to confront his own demons.

  20. 20. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

    The graphic novel centers around a high school student named Freddy who is grappling with her tumultuous relationship with the charismatic Laura Dean. Despite Laura's repeated infidelities and breakups, Freddy finds herself drawn back to Laura time and again. As Freddy navigates the complexities of love, friendship, and self-discovery, she begins to understand the importance of healthy relationships and self-respect. With the help of her friends, particularly her best friend Doodle, Freddy learns to set boundaries and recognize her own worth, ultimately confronting the cycle of toxic behavior and seeking a path toward personal growth and fulfillment.

  21. 21. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

    In a dystopian future where people have lost the ability to dream, leading to widespread madness, Indigenous people in North America are hunted for their bone marrow, which holds the cure for the rest of the world's dreamlessness. The story follows a young Indigenous boy and his companions as they navigate this perilous landscape, struggling to survive against the government "recruiters" who seek to harvest their marrow. As they journey through the ravaged lands, they must rely on their wits, their cultural heritage, and each other to retain their humanity against a society that seeks to take everything from them, including their dreams.

  22. 22. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

    This novel delves into the complexities of family life in Bombay, exploring the challenges and emotional turmoil within a small, crowded apartment that becomes a battleground of generational conflict. At the heart of the story is an elderly patriarch whose declining health necessitates care, leading to tensions and revealing the deep-seated resentments and secrets that threaten to tear the family apart. Through a rich tapestry of characters and meticulously detailed narrative, the book presents a poignant examination of duty, love, and the strains that familial obligations impose on individual desires and dreams, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Indian society.

  23. 23. War by Margaret MacMillan

    "War" by Margaret MacMillan is a comprehensive analysis of the causes, conduct, and consequences of war throughout history. Drawing on a vast range of sources, including personal accounts, political documents, and military strategy, MacMillan explores the human motivations behind war and the complex web of political, economic, and social factors that drive nations to conflict. She examines the impact of war on individuals and societies, from the trauma of soldiers on the front lines to the far-reaching political and economic consequences of global conflicts. Ultimately, MacMillan argues that war is a deeply human phenomenon, shaped by the complex interplay of individual and collective desires, fears, and ambitions.

  24. 24. 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.

  25. 25. The Boy In The Moon: A Father’s Journey To Understand His Extraordinary Son by L. Brown

    "The Boy in the Moon" is a memoir written by Ian Brown, a Canadian journalist, about his life with his severely disabled son, Walker. The book chronicles Brown's struggles to understand and care for his son, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that leaves him unable to walk, talk, or even eat on his own. Brown's journey is one of heartbreak, frustration, and ultimately, acceptance, as he learns to love and appreciate his son for who he is, rather than who he might have been. Through his compelling and deeply personal narrative, Brown sheds light on the challenges faced by families with disabled children, and offers a poignant meditation on the nature of love, family, and the human condition.

Reading Statistics

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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.

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