Asian Heritage Month
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada. Celebrate by exploring these incredible and diverse stories by Canadian Asian authors. You'll discover inspiring and thought-provoking stories that showcase the strength, resilience, and beauty of Asian Canadian communities.
Are you Sara? : a novel
Lalli, S. C., author
Despite a scholarship, law student Saraswati "Sara" Bhaduri holds down two jobs in order to make her way through school, but it's still a struggle. She's had to do things to pay the bills that most people wouldn't expect "a nice Indian girl" to do. Sara is working at the campus bar one seemingly ordinary Tuesday night when her boss demands that she deal with a drunk girl in the bathroom. The two women become fast friends. Why? Because they have the same name. And despite their different circumstances, they connect. At the end of the evening, each orders a rideshare home. They tumble into the back of their respective cars and head out into the night. But sometime later, Sara wakes up in the car to find she's on the wrong side of town--the rich side--and realizes that she and Sarah Ellis took the wrong cars home. With no money, Sara walks back to her apartment on the shady side of town only to see police lights flashing, illuminating a body crumpled on her doorstep: Sarah. But was the target Sarah Ellis or Sara Bhaduri? And why would anyone want either of them dead?
A good wife : escaping the life I never chose
Zafar, Samra, author
With almost no warning, Samra Zafar was married to a stranger at 17 and had to leave behind her family in Pakistan to move to Canada. In the years that followed she suffered her husband's emotional and physical abuse that left her feeling isolated, humiliated and assaulted. Samra tells her harrowing and inspiring story, following her from a young girl with big dreams, through finding strength in the face of oppression and then finally battling through to empowerment.
Hana Khan carries on
Jalaluddin, Uzma, author.
When Hana's mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana's growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival halal restaurant - who might not be a complete stranger after all. As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.
A history of burning : a novel
Oza, Janika, author
At the turn of the twentieth century, Pirbhai, a teenage boy looking for work, is taken from his village in India to labour on the East African Railway for the British. One day, he makes a desperate choice to ensure his survival that will shadow his family's future for decades to come. As Pirbhai's grandchildren find their way back to each other in exile in Toronto, news arrives that makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy, in order to secure their own place in the world.
Kaur, Rupi, author, illustrator
Rupi kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself - reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here.
How to pronounce knife : stories
Thammavongsa, Souvankham, 1978- author
In her stunning debut, Souvankham Thammavongsa captures the day-to-day lives of immigrants and refugees in a nameless city, illuminating hopes, disappointments, love affairs, and above all, the pursuit of a place to belong. An ex-boxer turned nail salon worker falls for a pair of immaculate hands; a mother and daughter harvest earthworms in the middle of the night; a country music-obsessed housewife abandons her family for fantasy; and a young girl's love for her father transcends language. Uncannily and intimately observed, written with prose of exceptional precision, the stories in How to Pronounce Knife speak of modern location and dislocation, revealing lives lived in the embrace of isolation and severed history - but not without joy, humour, resilience, and constant wonder at the workings of the world.
The last exiles
Shin, Ann, author
Jin and Suja meet and fall in love while studying at university in Pyongyang. She is a young journalist from a prominent family, while he is from a small village of little means. Outside the school, North Korea has fallen under great political upheaval, plunged into chaos and famine. When Jin returns home to find his family starving, their food rations all but gone, he makes a rash decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, miles away, Suja has begun to feel the tenuousness of her privilege when she learns that Jin has disappeared. Risking everything, and defying her family, Suja sets out to find him, embarking on a dangerous journey that leads her into a dark criminal underbelly and tests their love and will to survive.
The library of legends
Chang, Janie, 1960- author
China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China's western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the student refugees who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends. Her family's past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students' common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger.
On the ravine
Lam, Vincent, author
Claire rises and falls with the opioids in her system. After two overdoses in twenty-four hours, she searches notice boards and comes acroos Dr. Chen's clinic: be a guinea pig - why not get paid to take it? When Claire's life intersects with Chen's, the doctor is drawn ever more deeply into the complexities of the doctor-patient relationship, the implication and meaning of his intention to treat. Chen must confront just how far he would go to save a life. Author of "The Headmaster's Wager." Residence: Toronto, ON.
Satellite love : a novel
Ferguson, Genki, author
On the eve of the new millennium, in a city in southern Japan that progress has forgotten, sixteen-year-old Anna Obata looks to the stars for solace. An outcast at school, and left to fend for herself and care for her increasingly senile grandfather at home, Anna copes with her loneliness by searching the night sky for answers. But everything changes the evening the Low Earth Orbit satellite (LEO for short) returns her gaze and sees her as no one else has before. After Leo is called down to Earth, he embarks on an extraordinary journey to understand his own humanity as well as the fragile mind of the young woman who called him into being. As Anna withdraws further into her own mysterious plans, he will be forced to question the limits of his devotion and the lengths he will go to protect her.
Doctor, Farzana, author
When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India, she thinks that she's going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.
Tamaki, Mariko, author
It's the early nineties and "Skim" is stuck in a private girls' school in Toronto. When a classmate's boyfriend kills himself because he was rumoured to be gay, the school goes into mourning overdrive. It's a weird time to fall in love, but that's high school, and that's what happens to Skim when she starts to meet in secret with her neo-hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. But when Ms. Archer abruptly leaves, Skim struggles to cope with her confusion and isolation, armed with her trusty journal and a desire to shed old friendships while cautiously approaching new ones.
The story of us
Hernandez, Catherine, 1977- author
Like many overseas Filipino workers, Mary Grace Concepcion has lived a life of sacrifices. When she arrives in Toronto, she must navigate a series of bewildering and careless employers. Then Mary Grace begins caring for Liz, an elderly patient suffering from Alzheimer's disease. While Mary Grace's time with her charge challenges her conservative beliefs, she soon becomes Liz's biggest ally, and the friendship that grows between them will turn out to be just as legendary as Liz's past.
The subtweet : a novel
Shraya, Vivek, 1981- author
Everyone talks about falling in love, but falling in friendship can be just as captivating. When Neela Devaki's song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But as Rukmini's star rises and Neela's stagnates, jealousy and self-doubt creep in. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, one career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the centre of an internet firestorm.
Swimming back to Trout River
Feng, Linda Rui, 1975- author
In the summer of 1986 in a small Chinese village, ten-year-old Junie receives a momentous letter from her parents, who had left for America years ago: her father promises to return home and collect her by her twelfth birthday. What Junie doesn't know is that her parents, Momo and Cassia, are newly estranged from one another in their adopted country. In order for Momo to fulfill his promise, he must make one last desperate attempt to reunite all three members of the family before Junie's birthday - even if it means bringing painful family secrets to light.
Two trees make a forest : in search of my family's past among Taiwan's mountains and coasts
Lee, Jessica J., 1986- author
Jessica J. Lee embarks on a journey to discover her family's forgotten history and to connect with the island they once called home. After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather's life, Lee seeks to piece together the fragments of her family's history as they moved from China to Taiwan, and then on to Canada. But as she navigates the tumultuous terrain of Taiwan, Lee finds herself having to traverse fissures in language, memory, and history, as she searches for the pieces of her family left behind.
We two alone : a novella and stories
Wang, Jack, 1972- author.
Set on three continents and spanning nearly a century, We Two Alone traces the long arc and evolution of the Chinese immigrant experience. A young laundry boy risks his life to play organized hockey in Canada in the 1920s. A Canadian couple gets caught in the outbreak of violence in Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Consul General of China attempts to save lives following Kristallnacht in Vienna. An actor in New York struggles to keep his career alive while yearning to reconcile with his estranged wife. From the poor and disenfranchised to the educated and elite, the characters in this extraordinary collection embody the diversity of the diaspora at key moments in history and in contemporary times. Jack Wang has crafted deeply affecting stories that not only subvert expectations but contend with mortality and delicately draw out the intimacies and failings of love.
We were dreamers : an immigrant superhero origin story
Liu, Simu, 1989- author
Marvel's newest recruit shares his own inspiring and unexpected origin story, ranging from China to the bright lights of Hollywood. An immigrant who battled everything from parental expectations to cultural stereotypes, Simu Liu struggled to forge a path for himself, rising from the ashes of a failed accounting career (yes, you read that right) to become Shang-Chi. Our story begins in the city of Harbin, where Simu's parents have left him with his grandparents while they seek to build a future in Canada. One day, a mysterious stranger shows up; it's Simu's father, who whisks him away from the only home he has ever known to the land of opportunity and maple syrup. Life in the new world, however, is not all that it was cracked up to be. Simu's new guardians lack the gentle touch of his grandparents, resulting in harsh words and hurt feelings. His parents, on the other hand, find their new son emotionally distant and difficult to relate to. Although they are related by blood, they are separated by culture, language and values. As Simu grows up, he plays the part of the ideal son well, getting A's at school, crushing national math competitions and making his parents proud. But as time goes on, he grows increasingly disillusioned with the expectations placed on his shoulders, and finds it harder and harder to keep up the charade. Barely a year out of college, he hits rock bottom when he is laid off from his first job as an accountant. Unemployed, riddled with shame and with nothing left to lose, Simu sees an ad on Craigslist that will send him on a wildly unexpected journey into the mysterious world of show business. Through a swath of rejections and comical mishaps, Simu's determination leads him to succeed as an actor and to open the door to reconciling with his parents. We Were Dreamers is more than a celebrity memoir—it's a story about growing up between cultures, finding your family and becoming the master of your own extraordinary circumstances.
You are eating an orange. You are naked : a novel
Sheung-King, 1994-, author
A young translator living in Toronto frequently travels abroad--to Hong Kong, Macau, Prague, Tokyo--often with his unnamed lover. In restaurants and hotel rooms, the couple begin telling folk tales to each other, perhaps as a way to fill the undefined space between them. Theirs is a comic and enigmatic relationship in which emotions are often muted and sometimes masked by verbal play and philosophical questions, and further complicated by the woman's frequent unexplained disappearances.