Featuring The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne, Trust No Aunty by Maria Qamar and All Is Beauty Now by Sarah Faber.
Beneath The Surface
In Brazil, a picture-perfect family is set to leave their home to head to the patriarch’s birth country, Canada, to start anew. But right before they are set to leave, the eldest daughter heads to the beach, swims in the ocean and vanishes. A drowning, they say. But with no body to bury, the remaining family (mother, father and two sisters) is left without certainty or closure, and postpones their trip to Canada for a year. This is where the story really begins, as we follow the remaining family members as they prepare to once again, leave Brazil behind. You’ll meet a heartbroken father whose charisma masks his extreme and sometimes frightening emotions, and a tired mother just trying to protect her family. Plus, two young girls turning into women, who aren’t quite ready to leave their childhoods in Brazil behind. You’ll even meet the woman who walked into the water and disappeared—and discover why.
Maria Qamar is a Toronto-based illustrator, perhaps better known by her handle, @hatecopy. A first-generation Canadian, Qamar was raised in a traditional South Asain home, and quickly learned that her aesthetics (goth-leaning) and ambitions (drawing) weren't in keeping with her family's expectations. This book is both a great introduction to her graphic illustrations and her witty take on growing up in a South Asain family. The "Aunty" in the title refers to an older lady—"a cross-cultural phenomenon that isn't limited to a family member; she could be a neighbour, a family friend, or just some lady on the bus"—hell-bent on sharing (often unsolicited) advice. Though Qamar's hilarious guide to dealing with feisty and opinionated women is firmly rooted in her own cultural experience, her take is completely relatable—and laugh-out-loud funny. Who among us has not dealt with an unwanted matchmaker or unwarranted attention in our own personal lives?
Trust No Aunty (Touchstone) by Maria Qamar, $22.50.
Losing a parent is never easy, but Simran feels especially emotionally crippled thanks to the death of her mother, Amrita, the disintegration of her marriage and the growing distance from her daughter. In her grief, she turns inward and remembers her tense upbringing and absent sibling, and reveals Amrita’s own troubled life before she was ever a mother.
Someone You Love is Gone (Penguin Random House) by Gurjinder Basran, $25.