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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JOAN WICKERSHAM

Look to Canadian authors for a good read

If you like quiet, smart, character-driven fiction, I have one word for you: Canada.

“Quiet” is a damning word in US publishing these days. Increasingly, it seems, a novel needs a hook — a startling premise, a plot popping with melodramatic events, an artificially uplifting ending. But maybe that is not what you happen to look for as a reader. (What’s the hook in “Middlemarch”?) And while I wouldn’t claim that there are no thoughtful subtle novels being published in the United States, or that every Canadian novelist is George Eliot, I have gotten enormous pleasure browsing in Canadian bookstores over the years, discovering novels propelled by sharp, honest observation of the dilemmas and nuances of ordinary lives.

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