Canada Reads 2016 @ Sapl – Bone and Bread

Bone and Bread covernawaz-saleema

Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz

Beena and Sadhana are sisters who share a bond that could only have been shaped by the most unusual of childhoods — and by shared tragedy. Orphaned as teenagers, they have grown up under the exasperated watch of their Sikh uncle, who runs a bagel shop in Montreal’s Hasidic community of Mile End. Together, they try to make sense of the rich, confusing brew of values, rituals, and beliefs that form their inheritance. Yet as they grow towards adulthood, their paths begin to diverge. Beena catches the attention of one of the “bagel boys” and finds herself pregnant at sixteen, while Sadhana drives herself to perfectionism and anorexia.

When we first meet the adult Beena, she is grappling with a fresh grief: Sadhana has died suddenly and strangely, her body lying undiscovered for a week before anyone realizes what has happened. Beena is left with a burden of guilt and an unsettled feeling about the circumstances of her sister’s death, which she sets about to uncover. Her search stirs memories and opens wounds, threatening to undo the safe, orderly existence she has painstakingly created for herself and her son. (Publisher)

Interview with Saleema Nawaz

The story behind the story: Saleema Nawaz on Bone and Bread

Saleema Nawaz: Blood ties, bones and bagels

Toronto Star book review

Globe and Mail book review

Skype interview: Saleema Nawaz talks about Bone and Bread (video)

Canada Reads 2016 @ Sapl – Minister Without Portfolio

minister without portfoliomichael_winter3

Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter

Henry Hayward has been living life the way he’s wanted–working hard, playing hard–but when his girlfriend tells him she’s leaving, it destroys him. In a quest to recover, he joins an army-affiliated contracting crew that takes him overseas to a Canadian base in Afghanistan. In the company of friends, he begins to mend: having laughs and being rebellious, blithely unaware of all he’s left behind. But everything changes during a roadside incursion when a routine patrol turns fatal. And Henry, who survives, knows in his heart that he is responsible.

Upon returning home, tormented by guilt, he resolves to take care of the people and places around him: Martha Groves, whose boyfriend was killed in Afghanistan; his friends and neighbours; and a summer home that needs revitalizing. Henry tries his best to seek roots after a rootless life, collecting around himself a “community of a hundred people” for whom he cares deeply and is responsible. But he hasn’t factored in family history and social infidelity–and Martha has a revelation of her own that may change everything.

Minister Without Portfolio illuminates the power and violence of self-creation. It asks: To whom are we beholden? Who do we adopt–and who couldn’t we live without? It is an emotionally affecting work, filled with truths about the frailties and miracles of human nature, by a writer of exceptional talent. (Publisher)

Michael Winter talks about Minister Without Portfolio (video)

Toronto Star book review

Globe and Mail book review

National Post book review

Michael Winter on the writing process (video)