2015 was such a great year for books! We here at Fiction on Fiction have been devouring so many books that we haven’t been able to keep up with the blog.

But we hope to make it up to you with our Best Books of 2015.

Les Mots|Talk to Me by Rina Altamont

Rina Altamont has been around for decades, but her novellas have been largely overlooked, and for a good reason: Altamont’s novellas are unholy manticores made up of two or more disjoint stories. They are disconcerting and disorienting, not even providing a hint of a common theme, almost as if Altamont were mocking the notion that we are all connected. Les Mots|Talk to Me is her first novel where there is almost a hint of a connection. Les Mots|Talk to Me follows the same format as all other Altamont books: alternating chapters of both stories. And while the stories begin at random points in the narrative at the start of each chapter, in this case each chapter pair starts with the same opening sentence. Chapter 1 and 2 both start with “Leather sofas, while pricey, will not absorb the smell of farts and feet that fabric sofas acquire over the course of their lives.” But while chapter 1 moves into the story of Ludo, a car mechanic who cannot abide dirt in his home, and, consequently has not had a visitor since 1994, chapter 2 is a heartwarming tale of pet adoption. Neither narrative ever overlaps, but the common opening lines make one feel that what we are experiencing is Altamont’s observation that while all our stories are different, we are at least connected by the commonality of words.

It Was Here A Moment Ago by Maurizio Patel, translated by Laurie Dinicolantonio

Translated literature can be tricky. A lot can be lost in translation. Insightful novels can turn obvious, transcendent writing can turn leaden. But occasionally a flop of a book in one language can become a thing of beauty in another. The original Italian version of It Was Her A Moment Ago (“Era Proprio Qui!”) was a monumental failure. It was referred to as a lumbering, indulgent waste of publishing resources by the Italian press. But Laurie Dinicolantonio made it her life’s work to translate into English this train wreck of a novel. After 15 years, she completed her work. The result is an absolute wonder! The story of a man whose life is turned upside down by a roommate who keeps reorganizing their apartment is transformed from a heaping mess of nothing into a brilliant treatise on living with uncertainty. This is truly a book that should not be missed.

I Could Never Wiggle My Toes by Hypatia Daily

After her boyfriend breaks up with her at their PhD supervisor’s father’s funeral, Minnie decides to re-evaluate her life decisions. In vignettes that are both humourous and heartbreaking, Minnie revisits the reasons why she chose the path of least resistance over what she really desired. A short book (200 pages) that is long on insight and humanity.

Lou Says No by Shawneroo

The comic genius who brought us Chairs for Charity, Be The Wall, and Carl’s Laundromat is back with a vengeance with Lou Says No. Of course this is the same Lou as in the previous three books: lead singer of punk band Catsaloma; daytime worker at his pal Carl’s laundromat; nighttime worker at the local video store. But this time Lou, who never refuses to help out a friend, finally says no. The request? Driving Carl’s cousin Renee to the airport. The reason? Lou needs to be home to receive a parcel or else it will end up at the Fed Ex depot in the next town over. The entire novel is dedicated to the epic argument between Lou and Carl. Shawneroo (real name Sidney Lee) captures the guilt-tripping truth of long-term friendship in this absolutely fall-on-the-floor-laughing novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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