Books to help us remember and reflect.

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On November 11th, our fellow Canadians everywhere will observe two minutes of silence to remember those who fought and died for Canada, and to stand in solidarity with those whose lives have been touched by these dark moments of our history. If you decide to take a few extra quiet moments to remember and reflect this Remembrance Day, we've collected a list of Turnstone fiction, non-fiction, poetry and genre books to keep you company. 



Drift by Leo Brent Robillard 

Paardeberg, South Africa is far from Canada. In 1899, two prairie boys throw themselves into the conflict of the Second Boer War looking for soemthign their small-town lives cannot prvide. What they find amid the broken bodies and the rubble is that war is hell. With breathtaking grace, Leo Brent Robillard delivers an unstoppable story.

Leo Brent Robillard knows that questions raised by the Boer War are strikingly relevant to our times: are wars waged for political or ethical reasons; —to secure diamond and gold mines or to end slavery, to protect oil shipments or to bring democracy? In prose as crisp and bracing as the Great Karoo itself, Drift examines what motivates us to volunteer to fight a war that is not our own, whether it’s idealism, escapism, or cynicism, and shows what happens when any ism comes gunsight to gunsight with reality. Robillard gets it, and he gets it right.

- Wayne Grady, author of Breakfast at the Exit Cafe


Iolaire by Karen Clavelle

December 31, 1918. The war to end all wars was over and nearly three hundred men were returning home to their families, long left behind. When the HMS Iolaire left port on her fateful journey she was overflowing with joyful soldiers who had survived the gun but would not survive the sea. It was the Beast of Holm that sank her that night, plunging the men into the frigid waters no more than 20 feet from shore. 205 died , 82 survived. Iolaire, Karen Clavelle's debut collection of poetry, takes letters, news clippings and her own unique voice to stitch together one of the most tragic tales in maritime history.

Winner of the 2018 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and Long-listed for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award




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The Emperor's Orphans by Sally Ito 

In this personal myth, Sally Ito writes about her family members who were among the 4,000 Japanese Canadians "repatriated" to Japan during the Pacific War. As she uncovers the stories of these "Emperor's Orphans", the upheaval of their lives, and their struggle to establish themselves in a country ripped apart by conflict, Ito explores her own cultural identity through movements of place and voice.

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 Fox by Margaret Sweatman

Fox moves on quick and elegant feet through the terror and exhilaration of Winnipeg's 1919 General Strike, the most turbulent period of the city's history, to offer a startling reminder of the dangers of xenophobia, bigotry, greed, and fear. In a novel of remarkably vivd, kinetic power, the collision of the wealthy and working classes after the First World War becomes a backdrop for the heady conflict between desire and human idealism.

Winner of the 1991 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award.




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The Traitors of Camp 133 by Wayne Arthurson

A little known chapter of wartime Canada, the government maintained several German prisoner-of-war camps in Southern Alberta during World War ll. Camp 133 was one of these camps. Veteran guards were responsible for securing the perimeter but internal law and order at Camp 133 was enforced by POW Sergeant August Neumann, a village police officer by trade and a hero of the Great War. In July of 1944, not long after the Normandy invasion, Captain Mueller, a former tank officer teaching in the camp’s education system is found dead. Suspecting foul play, Sergeant Neumann investigates. Throughout the investigation, Sergeant Neumann must delicately navigate the treacherous social cliques of camp life: the Blackshirts, the Legionnaires, and the secret communist sympathisers in order to learn the truth behind Mueller’s death, uncover the traitors, and bring justice to Camp 133.

Short-listed for the 2017 High Plains Book Awards Indigenous Writer


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