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Great Families in CanLit

Don't you love escaping into a book where brothers, sisters, moms, and dads—not to mention freaky aunties and uncs—are crazier than yours? Where they fight more, philander more, commit more crimes, get sadder, and have their hearts broken even more than than you do? The best families in literature are wonderful because they are somehow utterly familiar—but strange enough—and thus cathartic. Here are a few greats. Of course there are many more (Larry's Party anyone? Fall on Your Knees?) so we want to hear suggestions from you. Tweet us @49thShelf with the hashtag #CanLitFamilies.

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The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews

“Toews’s writing is a unique collision of sadness and humour. . . . The Flying Troutmans is a dark story but it is also a never-ending series of hilarious adventures.”—Ottawa Citizen

Days after being dumped by her boyfriend Marc in Paris—"he was heading off to an ashram and said we could communicate telepathically" —Hattie hears her sister Min has been checked into a psychiatric hospital, and finds herself flying back to Winnipeg to take care of Thebes and Logan, her niece and nephew. Not knowing what else to do, she loads the kids, a cooler, and a pile of CDs into their van and they set out on a road trip in search of the childre …

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On Deck: 5 Authors on the Books They Can't Wait to Read This Summer

Rhonda Douglas picks Amy Jones's We're All In This Together

Rhonda writes: "If I have to pick just one book I'm dying to read this summer, it's We're All in This Together by Amy Jones. Jones is also the author of What Boys Like and Other Stories. I loved that book and so am curious to see what Jones has done in a novel. Apparently there are crazy family shenanigans involved and I think Jones's wit will just slice family dynamics wide open. Have this one on the top of my pile to enjoy under a tree in August—can't wait!"

Rhonda Douglas is the author of Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems, (Signature Editions) and Welcome to the Circus: Stories (Freehand Books). We recommended Welcome to the Circus in this post right here, and Publishers Weekly calls the collection "an exhilarating read."

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