NEWS

Canada Reads debate down to 3 books

02/10/2013 08:57 EST | Updated 04/12/2013 05:12 EDT
Canada Reads is now a tale of titles from the country's opposing coasts battling a novel from Quebec for supremacy.

Away, Jane Urquhart’s novel about an Irish immigrant family adapting to life in Canada, was eliminated on Tuesday, after three panellists voted it out. The book had been defended by author Charlotte Gray.

CBC’s annual, Canada-wide book debate got underway Monday morning with novels from five regions vying for the hearts and minds of readers.

In 2013, the annual book battle returned to fiction, after dabbling with non-fiction last year. However, Canada Reads: Turf Wars pits titles from the country's different regions against each other.

Hockey Night in Canada's Ron Maclean, representing the Prairies & the North, was the first panellist to go on Monday. He had been championing The Age of Hope by David Bergen.

Bergen's novel follows the life of Hope Koop, a woman born in a small Manitoba town, who leads a safe, predictable life as a wife and mother, all the while pondering the meaning and importance of her quiet existence.

The remaining books still in contention are:

- Representing B.C. and the Yukon, Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. An alcoholic Ojibwa man looks back on his life from his time in residential school to the brief salvation he finds playing hockey. Defended by Olympic wrestler Carol Huyhn.

- Representing Quebec, Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan. Published in 1945, Two Solitudes tells the story of the Tallard family — Athanase Tallard is an aristocratic French-Canadian and his beautiful wife Kathleen is of Irish heritage, while their son Paul is torn between French and English cultures. Defended by actor Jay Baruchel.

- Representing Atlantic Canada, February by Lisa Moore. A Newfoundland woman’s life is shattered by the sinking of the Ocean Ranger and the death of her husband, Cal. In the years afterward, she struggles to raise her children and move on. Defended by comedian Trent McLellan.

The debate began months ago, as readers in five regions of the country put forward their favourite novels set in their own province to be considered for Canada Reads. By Thursday, the five panellists will have chosen a single book as this year's champion.

Jian Ghomeshi hosts Canada Reads, which continues through Thursday, on CBC Radio One at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., with a live stream and chat online at CBC Books.

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