The Greatest "Ontario" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 273 '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. Selected Stories of Alice Munro by Alice Munro

    This collection of short stories offers a comprehensive view of the author's narrative talent, showcasing her ability to create complex characters and situations that reflect the human condition. Set in various locations, from small Canadian towns to exotic foreign locales, each story delves into the intricate relationships, personal struggles, and quiet triumphs of its characters. The author's writing is marked by her keen observation, psychological insight, and the ability to convey the extraordinary within the ordinary, making each story a unique exploration of life's complexities.

  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. 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.

  4. 4. 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.

  5. 5. 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.

  6. 6. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

    This historical fiction novel centers around the true story of Grace Marks, a 19th-century Irish-Canadian maid who was convicted of the brutal murders of her employer and his housekeeper. The narrative is told from the perspective of Grace herself, as well as a young psychiatrist who is trying to determine whether Grace is truly guilty. The book explores themes of memory, culpability, and the treatment of women in society.

  7. 7. The Progress of Love by Alice Munro

    "The Progress of Love" is a collection of short stories that explore the complexities of human relationships, particularly focusing on love. Set in various locations, from small-town Ontario to post-war Italy, the narratives delve into the lives of different characters as they navigate the intricacies of love, loss, and the human condition. The stories intricately weave together themes of memory, time, and the constant evolution of love, showcasing the author's ability to portray the subtleties of everyday life with profound insight and empathy.

  8. 8. The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies

    The novel follows the life of a Toronto doctor who uses his knowledge of medicine and his understanding of human nature to treat his patients. He believes in the healing power of the human spirit and often uses unconventional methods to treat his patients. The narrative is filled with his interesting patients and their stories, as well as his own personal journey. The book also explores themes of spirituality, love, and the complexities of human nature.

  9. 9. 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.

  10. 10. Friend Of My Youth: Stories by Alice Munro

    The book is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships, memory, and the passage of time, often through the lens of women's experiences. Set primarily in small-town Canada, the narratives explore the lives of characters who confront personal betrayals, moral dilemmas, and the subtle yet profound moments that shape their identities. With a keen eye for detail and a masterful use of language, the author weaves tales that reveal the depth and nuance of ordinary life, capturing the universal truths that lie within the particularities of individual stories.

  11. 11. 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.

  12. 12. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

    The novel is a poignant story of a young Ojibway boy, Saul Indian Horse, who is torn from his family and placed in a residential school in Northern Ontario, Canada. Within the harsh and oppressive environment aimed at eradicating his culture and identity, Saul finds salvation in the form of ice hockey. His extraordinary talent on the ice becomes a means of escape and a source of pride. However, as he grows and moves through the ranks of the hockey world, he continues to battle the racism and the lingering effects of his painful past. The story is a powerful exploration of Canadian history, the resilience of the human spirit, and the healing power of sport.

  13. 13. Dear Life by Alice Munro

    This book is a captivating collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human experiences, emotions, and the intricacies of life in small-town Canada. Through a series of narratives, the author masterfully explores themes of love, loss, change, and the moments that profoundly shape individuals' lives. Each story serves as a window into the characters' souls, revealing their deepest fears, desires, and the often unexpected paths their lives take. With a keen eye for detail and a profound understanding of the human condition, the collection not only entertains but also invites reflection on the unpredictable nature of life and the indelible mark it leaves on each person.

  14. 14. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

    Set in the 1860s, the novel tells the story of a small Canadian town rocked by the brutal murder of a French trapper. When a local woman's adopted son becomes the prime suspect, she embarks on a perilous journey through the wilderness to clear his name. Along the way, she uncovers a complex web of deceit and corruption within her community, while also coming to terms with her own past. The narrative is a gripping blend of mystery, adventure and historical fiction.

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.