Two exceptional novels by first-time authors, Jocelyn Parr’s Uncertain Weights and Measures and Michael Kaan’s The Water Beetles, are named finalists for Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards in fiction!

Uncertain Weights and Measures takes place in the heady days of post-Revolution Russia. Jocelyn Parr vividly captures the atmosphere of 1920s Moscow and the frisson of real-life events while also spinning a captivating tale of a love torn apart by ideology and high-stakes politics in this deftly written novel. Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels marvels at Parr’s characters that “seem to move under the surface of the page—breathing, changing, flawed, and resilient.”

Michael Kaan’s The Water Beetles is “a literary high wire act” (Toronto Star) set in China following the Japanese invasion. Loosely based on the diaries and stories of the author’s father, this mesmerizing tale vividly captures the horror of war through the eyes of a child with unsettling and unerring grace. The Georgia Straight describes it as “a work of lasting power.”

Kaan and Parr will read from their novels at a special evening devoted to the Governor General’s Literary Awards fiction finalists on Monday, October 23, at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto during the International Festival of Authors. Other books shortlisted for the fiction award include Alison MacLeod’s All the Beloved Ghosts (Penguin Canada), Kathleen Winter’s Lost in September (Knopf Canada), and Joel Thomas Hynes’sWe’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night (HarperCollins Canada).

Winners will be announced in Ottawa on November 1.