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The Lorenzo Society

Lorenzo@Home series

Join our virtual book club

Each year, the Lorenzo Society at UNB Saint John sponsors in-person readings by major Canadian authors. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, events scheduled for Winter 2021 will be hosted online.

Readers who attend any of the five monthly virtual book club events will have the opportunity to hear directly from the featured author, ask questions and discuss the book with fellow readers.

Space is limited.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on when registration opens for each of the events.

Contact the Lorenzo Society coordinator, Andrea Kikuchi, for more information.

Winter 2021 schedule

by Gerard Collins

Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. (ADT)

The Hush Sisters

Sissy and Ava Hush are estranged, middle-aged sisters with little in common beyond their upbringing in a peculiar manor in downtown St. John’s. With both parents now dead, the siblings must decide what to do with the old house they have inherited. Despite their individual loneliness, neither is willing to change or cede to the other’s intentions. As the sisters discover the house’s dark secrets, the spirits of the past awaken, and strange events envelop them. The Hush sisters must either face these sinister forces together or be forever ripped apart.

In The Hush Sisters, Gerard Collins weaves psychological suspense with elements of the fantastic to craft a contemporary urban gothic that will keep readers spellbound until the novel whispers its startling secrets.

by Uzma Jalaluddin

This book was nominated by Kathryn Howe, Acting Community Librarian at the Saint John Free Public Library

Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. (ADT)

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha at Last

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she does not want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she must deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

by Emma Donoghue

This book was nominated by Rachel Friars, UNB Saint John Alumnus, Class of 2018

Wednesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. (ADT)

Dublin, 1918: three days in a maternity ward at the height of the great flu. A small world of work, risk, death and unlooked-for love, by the bestselling author of The Wonder and Room.

The Pull of the Stars

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, caregivers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

by Carla Gunn

This book club discussion is in memory of Susan Kathleen Leyden, long-time supporter of the Lorenzo Society.

Wednesday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. (ADT)


Shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Canada and Caribbean region); Shortlisted for the 2011 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award; A Globe and Mail Top Five First Fiction Title of 2009; A National Post Best Books of 2009 selection.

Phineas William Walsh has an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. He knows that if you wet a dog’s food with your saliva and he refuses to eat it, then he is top dog, and he knows that dolphins can sleep half a brain at a time. Far from being just idle information, though, Phin draws parallels between the humans in his life and other animals and uses his vast knowledge to try to adjust to and make sense of the confusion in his world – like his parents’ divorce and being bullied at school. But when an event unfolds in his fourth-grade classroom that offends both his logic and sensibilities, Phin has had enough and he and his best friend, Bird, are spurred to action.

In a voice that has been compared to Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Phin reflects on the complex and troubled relationship between humans, animals, and the environment all the while struggling to maintain his innocence. Is there really any evidence that the human animal is better than bad, more compassionate than cruel? Is there any reason to hope for a kinder world?

by Dennis Bock

Wednesday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. (ADT)

The Good German

In November 1939, a German anti-fascist named Georg Elser came as close to assassinating Adolf Hitler as anyone ever had. In this gripping novel of alternate history, he doesn’t just come close—he succeeds. But he could never have imagined the terrible consequences that would follow from this act of heroism.

Hermann Göring, masterful political strategist, assumes the Chancellery and quickly signs a non-aggression treaty with the isolationist president Joseph Kennedy that will keep America out of the war that is about to engulf Europe. Göring rushes the German scientific community into developing the atomic bomb, and in August 1944, this devastating new weapon is tested on the English capital.

London lies in ruins. The war is over, fascism prevails in Europe, and Canada, the Commonwealth holdout in the Americas, suffers on as a client state of the Soviet Union. Georg Elser, blinded in the A-bombing of London, is shipped to Canada and quarantined in a hospice near Toronto called Mercy House. Here we meet William Teufel, a German-Canadian boy who in the summer of 1960 devises a plan that he hopes will distance himself from his German heritage and, unwittingly, brings him face to face with the man whose astonishing act of heroism twenty-one years earlier set the world on its terrifying new path.

In this page-turning narrative, Bock has created an utterly compelling and original novel of historical speculation in the vein of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids and Philip K. Dick’s cult classic The Man in the High Castle.

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You may contact the UNB Saint John Lorenzo Society at or P.O. Box 5050, Saint John, NB E2L 4L5, Canada.