The Critics’ Take

These books have all been highly lauded by the world’s leading book critics.

  • This is How it Always is

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Those looking for a beautiful investigation of a loving family learning how to handle their son who is a girl at heart. Lovers of wonderful writing coupled with a fascinating story of the times. Readers interested in transgender identity.  


  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers interested in historical fiction set in a Japanese POW . Lovers of forbidden love stories. Fans of fiction that jumps between the past and the present in Australia.


  • The History of Love

      Book Dumpling Recommends For: Fans of strong, smart writing. Readers interested in an intellectual novel about an old man reminiscing about his greatest love, a woman who inspired a book he thinks is lost forever. Fans of novels that touch the heart without the cheese.


  • Homegoing

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of international fiction. Readers looking for a sweeping epic that follows the descendants of two half-sisters in Ghana, whose lives take vastly different turns. Anyone interested in African culture and history.


  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of graphic novel memoirs Readers who enjoy the true story of a father’s death soon after he comes out of the closet. Anyone wondering what it would be like to grow up in a funeral home.


  • The Girls

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers looking for strong writing that delivers a poignant coming-of-age story set in 1969. Anyone interested in the horrific murders committed by Charles Manson's followers, and what could have led young, American teen girls to partake in them. Lovers of disturbing-yet-insightful intellectual fiction that examines the...


  • Fifteen Dogs

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of parables and allegorical fiction Readers interested in what happens when fifteen dogs are granted human intelligence Fans of clever, thought-provoking literature


  • The Year of the Runaways

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of Indian immigrant fiction. Readers interested in the past lives of four major characters who then meet up in the present. Anyone wondering what it's like to come to England illegally.


  • A Little Life

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers looking for a story of four college friends moving to New York City. Lovers of disturbing, intellectual fiction. Anyone interested in the life of an up-and-coming artist in the city.


  • Three Day Road

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of historical fiction or Native Canadian stories circa World War 1. Readers interested in a story about a woman living off the land and a young man scarred by war. Anyone looking for a touching page-turner about family bonds, nature conservation, and indigenous issues.


  • The Unamericans: Stories

    In this beautiful collection exploring the intersection between Old and New worlds, Antopol jumps between Israel and the States, with characters who come from Moscow, Kiev, Prague and more. Perfect for: Lovers of intellectual, short fiction. Book clubs looking for much fodder for discussion. Fans of globe-trotting stories that cover...


  • The Bone Clocks

    1984: Holly Sykes lives in England. After a disagreement with her mother, she runs away from home left with only the voices in her head as company. As Holly closes the door, the narrative switches to other characters, all moving forward through time, all of whom lead us further into...


  • Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam #1)

    Humanity has succumbed to a plague. Genetically engineered perfection surrounds Snowman (formerly Jimmy) in the form of Children of Crake. Through his recollections, we learn about the demise of humanity, the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the love they both shared for Oryx. We travel with him through...


  • Redeployment

    In this stunning collection of short stories, Phil Klay (veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps) offers a heart-stopping look into the realities of the war in Iraq and the difficulties for everyone involved. Perfect for: • Those interested in gaining a new perspective on the war in Iraq. • Lovers...


  • My Brilliant Friend (L’amica geniale #1)

    In this first in this much-lauded trilogy, Elena, now an older woman, recounts her tormented-yet-essential friendship with the captivating Lila Cerullo. She takes us back (with raw, beautiful prose) to their tough neighbourhood in Naples and traces the beginning of their arduous attachment up until their late teens. Perfect for:...


  • White Teeth

    Smith’s wit and lyrical mastery is on display in this gorgeous narrative of two families living in North London during the years approaching the millennium. Spanning three generations, the novel surveys Samad and Archie’s friendship through issues of identity, gender, and race, while exploring the importance of both genetics and...


  • The Golem and the Jinni

    In this whirlwind, fantastical story, Chava (a Golem from Jewish mysticism) and Ahmad (a Jinni from Arab folklore) are stranded, separately, in turn-of-the-century New York City. The ensuing story is too delicious to put here. You know if you’re interested in this kind of book. And if you are, just...


  • The Round House

    In her trademark, gorgeous prose, Erdrich introduces us to Geraldine Coutts, a member of an Ojibwe reservation in South Dakota. After experiencing a brutal attack, Coutts evades everyone from the police to her husband to her son as they all try and piece together what happened on that day back...


  • The Yellow Birds

    An emotional account of friendship during times of war, Powers delivers a gripping story of two soldiers (eighteen-year-old, Private Murphy, and twenty-one-year-old, Private Bartle) fighting in Iraq. To say more would ruin this powerful narrative of war and its horrific consequences on the human psyche. Perfect for:  Lovers of intellectually-written...


  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

    In this bone-chilling novel of war and endurance, 8-year-old Havaa lives in a small town in Chechnya. After the disappearance of her father, she travels with her neighbour, Akhmed, to the hospital where they meet Sonja, the remaining doctor in a world obliterated by cruelty and violence. These three characters,...


  • A Single Man

    Wise and full of insight on the human condition, this novella contemplates the experience of loss from the perspective of an outsider: George is a British gay man living in 1960s California. We follow him through one day in his life after the sudden death of his partner. Perfect for:...


  • Annabel

    An intersex baby is born in rural Labrador in 1968. Raised as a boy (Wayne) his female side (Annabel) aches to break free. This quiet, gorgeous novel will change how you think about identity, gender constructs, and judgment. Perfect for: Those who like subtle, beautifully-written novels. Fans of Canada’s Giller...


  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

    Two very different magicians attempt to revive English magic during the Napoleonic wars. The scholarly and cautious, Mr. Strange, takes on the flashier, Mr. Norrell, as a pupil, but the two are too combative to get along. With a leisurely pace and a discursive style (yes, there are footnotes) –...


  • Cockroach

    In Montreal’s frigid winter, a thief has attempted suicide and failed. In subsequent sessions with a therapist, we begin to learn about his life. An immigrant from the Middle East, he leaves his war-torn country to become a self-described cockroach: dispossessed and alienated. Dark and nihilistic, with vivid imagery, it’s...


  • 1Q84

    Get ready for an epic and unusual romance by famed Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. Dreamlike and fantastical, at the center, there’s Tengo, a mathematics teacher and aspiring novelist, and Aomame, a physical trainer and part-time assassin. There are also two moons, cults, parallel universes, and miniature angel-demons. Just go with...


  • Harvest

    Walter Thirsk narrates this story of his unnamed English village which is threatened as the last crops are harvested. That night, two men and an alluring woman, make themselves at home in the village’s woodland borders. Then the local manor house is set alight. Walter’s once-peaceful hamlet is quickly ravaged...


  • Americanah

    This is the type of book that will change your perspective, probably forever: We first meet Ifemelu as a Nigerian living in the States: she is a fellow at Princeton and her blog (which examines the hypocrisies and complexities that make up race in the U.S., specifically American Black and...


  • The House of the Spirits

    Allende’s debut novel is the book that made me love books: an epic novel, Spirits follows the Trueba family as they live through social and political upheavals in an unnamed, Latin American country. I’m guessing Chile. Using elements of magical realism to create unforgettable characters, this remains one of Allende’s...


  • Middlesex

    To paraphrase its opening lines, Cal is born twice – first as an infant girl and again at age 14, as a boy. A genetic mutation (related to an astonishing family history) has made him intersex. This poignant story spans multiple generations of a Greek-American family. Eugenides cleverly explores the...


  • Lullabies for Little Criminals

    Baby is about to turn 12 years old: her mother is dead and her father’s a junkie. She comes of age on the streets of Montreal in a neighbourhood replete with poverty, prostitution and drugs. With a colourful cast of characters, this book will simultaneously entertain and break your heart....