In fact, Vancouver has inspired great novels. Here are 7 of them

Despite the gorgeous ocean and mountain views, it’s easy to presume artists, musicians, and writers weren’t inspired by Vancouver, a city that’s also full of concrete condominiums and office buildings.

But after someone from Toronto claimed beautiful BC lacked “culture and soul”, hundreds of Vancouverites on Twitter said otherwise — including a book critic and bookstore owner.

Earlier this week, Canadaland podcast host Jesse Brown commented on how Vancouver is not the kind of city that would inspire someone to write a great Canadian rock novel or anthem.

On episode, “WTF, Marc Maron moved to Canada?” American comedian and actor Marc Maron told Brown he was applying for permanent residency and was considering moving to Vancouver.

Brown then said, “if [Maron] appreciate culture… [Vancouver] is the worst city in the world for that.

“No one has ever been inspired by Vancouver to write a good novel,” he said stand up when contacted later by Globe and Mail.

“It never occurred to me as a city that could or would inspire someone to write a cool rock song or write a great novel about it,” he said. “It’s not that kind of place.”

The comments sparked outrage from many who were ready to defend the city, including Vancouver-based journalist and book critic Michelle Cyca who said she felt “obliged” to write a Twitter thread listing seven great novels inspired by the city – which alone garnered hundreds. comments and retweets from people who feel the same way.

“I kept thinking… there are so many books and authors here for us to celebrate, so I just thought I’d share a few of my favorites and I’m actually surprised so many people share my outrage,” said Cyca. at CBC Early Edition on Friday.

Patricia Massy, ​​owner of Massy Books and founder of the Massy Arts Society — a nonprofit that helps fund literary events across the city — said she strongly disagreed with Brown’s comments, responding with list books set in Vancouver.

“There are some phenomenal writers in Vancouver who live here and create here. In my short life as a bookseller and hosting events, I have seen people go from submitting a single poem to a magazine to writing a full book,” he said.

“There’s definitely inspiration to be found here and a very strong literary scene.”

Here are seven of the many great books created in Vancouver, recommended by Cyca, in no particular order:

Eden Robinson Fraudster trilogy

Son of a Trickster is a novel by Eden Robinson. (Photo by Red Works, Knopf Canada)

Although Robinson calls the area around Kitimat, in northwestern BC, home today, it is widely praised Fraudster the series is indelibly connected to Vancouver, specifically the Commercial Drive neighborhood where scenes of supernatural danger mingle with the grittier details of the modern city.

The first book in the series, Fraudster Son shortlisted for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize and a finalist for Canada Reads in 2020.

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Five Little Indians is a novel by Michelle Good. (HarperCollins, Silk Merchant Photography)

A national bestseller and winner of multiple awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Award and the 2022 Canada Reads Award, is about five residential school survivors who, as teenagers walk the streets of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, confront past and present traumas.

Jessica Johns’ Bad creation

Composite image of a red book cover and a woman with black hair and glasses.
Bad Cree is a novel by Jessica Johns. (HarperCollins Canada)

Based on the 2020 Writer’s Travel Prize-winning short story, Jessica John’s debut novel—published earlier this year—is set in the First 8 Nations Treaty region but, notes Cyca, “indelibly captures the somber spirit of Kitsilano Whole Foods” grocery store in Vancouver.

Affiliated by Jen Sookfong Lee

Jen Sookfong Lee is the author of The Conjoined. (CBC)

Jen Sookfong Lee has written many novels in Vancouver, but Cyca is her favorite Affiliateda story about a young social worker who makes a grisly discovery against the backdrop of the city’s Chinatown neighborhood.

The Disappearing Moon Cafe by Sky Lee

Black-and-white photo of a woman next to her book, Disappearing Moon Cafe.
Sky Lee is the author of Disappearing Moon Cafe. (New Western Press)

Another novel set in Chinatown, this debut novel from Sky Lee is considered a Canadian classic, telling the story of a Chinese Canadian family spanning four generations.

Green wood by Michael Christie

Composite photo of a book cover featuring a green forest and the book's author, a man with short white hair looking straight at the camera.
Michael Christie is a Greenwood writer. (McClelland & Stewart, Cedar Bowles)

Michael Christie’s second novel, Green wood tackling forestry, opium addiction, hidden family secrets, and forbidden love. A contender for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize, is currently on the longlist for the 2023 edition of Canada Reads.

Man Game by Lee Henderson

A man with glasses next to a book.
Lee Henderson is the author of The Man Game. (Bryan McBurney/Canadian Penguin Group)

The synopsis for the 2009 novel reads, “On a recent Sunday afternoon in Vancouver, a young man discovers a secret sport discovered more than a century earlier, at the birth of his city.”

It’s a “so much fun novel that makes me wonder why it’s naked Fight Club was never considered a form of entertainment,” Cyca said.

Hadwin Floyd

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