LENNY BRUCE IS DEAD by Jonathan Goldstein (Coach House), 160 pages, $17.95 paper (in stores).
Horny young Jewish guy's mother dies, so he moves in with his dad in this frank and funny episodic tale by the ex-Montrealer and creator of NPR's This American Life radio show in Chicago.
THE ROPE IN THE WATER: A PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA by Sylvia Fraser (Thomas Allen), 352 pages, $32.95 cloth.
In other hands this kind of thing might be riddled with cliches. Remember Madonna and her henna tattoos? But Sylvia Fraser is an exceptional writer whose gifts set her apart from the poseurs.
SIMPLE RECIPES by Madeleine Thien (McClelland & Stewart), 240 pages, $22.99 paper.
The critical radar picked up Vancouver-based Thien early in her career - almost all the seven short stories in this collection have been published and either shortlisted or chosen for key awards. Now these poignant tales about family relationships are in one place.
STANLEY PARK by Timothy Taylor (Knopf), 423 pages, $32.95 cloth (in stores).
Journey Prize winner Taylor's debut offers an inside look at the workings of a high-end restaurant, a cutthroat character in the person of a coffeehouse chain owner who wants to take it over and an intense sense of location, as the title suggests. Big buzz.
TITANIUM PUNCH by Yashin Blake (misFit), 220 pages, $19.95 paper.
T.O. bike freak and headbanger Issac Khan gets off on a summer of camping, concerts and beer. And, yes, sex is a factor. Blake is brash and headstrong - one to watch, for sure.
BONES by Elaine Dewar (Random House), 628 pages, $39.99 cloth (in stores).
Dewar, famous for having thrown the Reichmann family into a libel lather, turns her attention to a new controversy, the origins of North America's First Nations. Her ideas will send anthropologists into a snit of their own.
THE LAUGHING ONE: A JOURNEY TO EMILY CARR by Susan Crean (HarperCollins), 320 pages, $32 cloth.
Crean is a pioneer in the field of creative non-fiction - you can tell by the unique approach she's taken to the art and life of West Coast painter Emily Carr. She retraces Carr's treks through the BC landscape, conjuring fictional diary accounts that address the artist's aesthetics and politics. Groundbreaking.
The spring book list for 2001 is notable for its excellent first fiction, but some of Canada's veterans are releasing important new works, too. Here's a sampling of the best that's yet to come. Except where indicated, the following titles will be in stores before May 1.