A Year in Reading: Madeleine Thien

December 16, 2016 | 5 books mentioned

covercovercoverI mentioned Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being and Ben Ehrenreich’s The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine in an earlier “Books of the Year” piece for The Guardian. I think both books are ones that take a long time to absorb; they are profoundly powerful not only in their observations and stories, but in how courageously and carefully they speak to our present moment.

Other resonant books I read this year are Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, which I wept through, as happens for me with the most revealing satire; Anosh Irani’s courageous The Parcel, about the life and desires and compromises of Madhu, a hijra in Kamathipura, Bombay; Chester Brown’s very personal and searching meditation on the sex trade, Paying for It; Katherena Vermette’s bold, beautiful, polyphonic novel, The Break; and James Gleick’s Time Travel, which bends time and movement around us and, through literature and the written word, within us.

More from A Year in Reading 2016

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is the author of the story collection, Simple Recipes, and three novels, including Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, won the 2016 the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2016 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and was long listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her work has been translated into 25 languages and her essays are widely available in The Guardian, the Globe & Mail, Brick, Al Jazeera and elsewhere. The youngest daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.