9 Of The Best Books You Can Read Set In Montreal

For all you bookworms that love this city.
9 Of The Best Books You Can Read Set In Montreal

If you're a bookworm like myself I know you've been devouring books all summer long. There's an unlimited amount of books out there to read whether you're into mystery, comedy, drama, or romance novels there's always something for everyone.

READ ALSO21 Of The Hottest New Books You’ll Want To Read This Summer

You may not know this, but there's actually a lot of books that were based right here in Montreal. Imagine reading an amazing novel and actually knowing the streets they're mentioning. You can relate so much more to the main characters, since you live in the same city as them!

Below is a list of some of the best novels based right here in Montreal.

1. Lullabies For Little Criminals

Lullabies for little criminals is a gripping novel written by Heather O'Neill, published in 2006. This is an emotional tale about a 12 year old named Baby, which follows her life over a two year period. She is forced to grow up in the seedy, dark side of Montreal that most do not experience or even notice. Her mother died when she was young, her father is a heroin addict and she is forced to abandon her innocence much earlier than she should have.

I recently read this book and was hooked from the first chapter. It is not one for the faint of heart, since it deals with drugs, abuse, and death but will most definitely change your perspective on life once you've finished.

Buy it on Amazon here!

2. Cockroach

Cockroach is a comedy novel with a dark twist, written by Rawi Hage and published in 2008. The main character moves to Canada from an unnamed country in the Middle East. Once he arrvies in Montreal he realizes he has to live in poverty. The novel begins as he tries to take his own life and is rescued against his will. As the story continues the main character perceives himself to be a cockroach who steals from the rich and powerful.

A gripping, poetic tale you won't be able to put down any time soon.

Buy it on Amazon here!

3. Bottle Rocket Hearts

This Montreal-based novel is written by Zoe Whittall and published in 2007. The main character, Eve, is a 19 year old 90s rebel girl. The book jumps around in time with a focus on Eve and her relationship with her girlfriend Della. It's a classic coming-of-age story, with dramatic and exciting twists along the way.

Buy it on Amazon here!

4. Deja Dead

Deja Dead is a murder mystery novel, based in Montreal. Dr. Temperance Brennan works as a the Director of Forensic Anthropology. The novel begins when the dismembered body of a young woman is found and the main character has to discover who the killer is. Her hunt for the murderer leads her down a dark and twisted path which puts her and those closest to her in serious danger.

Buy it on Amazon here!

5. The Tin Flute

This novel, written by Gabrielle Roy, is set in Montreal's Saint Henri neighbourhood. The story follows an impoverished family, how they try to overcome their lifetime struggles, and their search for love. The story takes place during the Second World War and their survival and struggle through this time. This novel is also a critically acclaimed motion picture.

Buy it on Amazon here!

6. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

This novel, written by Mordecai Richler, follows the main character Duddy Kravitz, a young Jewish boy growing up in a poor neighborhood of Montreal. He has an apprenticeship to life and is working towards discovering himself and becoming as successful as possible. His obsession with money and greed drives people away from him and the story takes many dramatic turns along Duddy's journey.

Buy it on Amazon here!

7. The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant

The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant was originally produced as a French novel and was translated into English in 1981. Michel Tremblay writes about several working class families and two prostitutes. Several of the women in the novel are pregnant but only one, the fat woman next door, is pregnant out of true love and affection. The novel takes place in Montreal's well-known neighborhood, Le Plateau.

Buy it on Amazon here!

8. Nikolski

Based in 1989, this gripping novel follows the separate lives on three young people who each end up in Montreal. They are all on a journey of self discovery, experiencing heartbreak and family dramas. This book is extremely well-written and will take the reader on their own journey of self discovery while reading the captivating stories of the three main characters.

Buy it on Amazon here!

9. The Favourite Game

Leonard Cohen's first novel, The Favourite Game is a truly unforgettable book. This novel also follows the life of a young Jewish boy in Montreal, who has numerous lifetime adventures. It follows his relationship with his family, a coming of age story where the main character eventually learns the demands and sacrifices one must make for love.

Buy it on Amazon here!

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7 Books That Are Set In Montreal

And you thought we were the only ones to write about Montreal.

Most people have seen Montreal as the backdrop for many films and television shows. However it is often overlooked that Montreal is also the setting for some pretty incredible books. From modern tales set in the slums of Montreal to beloved Canadian classics, this city has been the glue that holds two covers together. So if you’re looking for your next great novel, here are seven to choose from.

Lullabies For Little Criminals

Written by Heather O’Neill, and published in 2006, this book is all about the seedy underbelly of Montreal. The story follows Baby, a twelve year-old girl, over the course of two years as she tries to navigate a difficult life filled with abuse, drug overdoses, abandonment, and death. The book is an incredible read, and once you start you won’t want to put it down. This heart-wrenching story will give you a new perspective on life, and the city we call home.

Photo cred - MyrensMysco

Déjà Dead

If you’ve ever seen the hit television series Bones, then you should check out the book that started it all. Written by Kathy Reichs, Déjà Dead is the first adventure of Dr. Temperance Brennan, the Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec. After a dismembered body is found in the basement of an abandoned Montreal monastery, Brennan’s determination to get answers. This book is completely heart stopping and will have you reading long into the night.

The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz

This story follows the tale of Duddy, a poor Jewish boy growing up in Montreal. When his grandfather tells him that "A man without land amounts to nothing", Duddy strives to become someone his family can be proud of. This classic by Mordecai Richler is a rags to riches story, which explores what it really means to succeed in the world, and redefines what it means to be rich.

Bottle Rocket Hearts

A queer coming-of-age story which builds up to the 1995 referendum. This book explores a young woman’s budding sexuality, her identity, and an attempt to find herself in a drastically changing world. Written by Zoe Whittall, and published in 2007, this book is as relevant today as it was almost ten years ago. A poignant story everyone should read at least once.

The Tin Flute

Written by Gabrielle Roy and published in 1945, this French Canadian classic (originally called Bonheur D'occasion) is about a family living in the slums of Montreal during the second World War. The story is about their struggle to overcome poverty, find love, and survive the hardship of war. In addition to being a great read, the book also won the Prix Femina prize from France as well as Canada’s Governor General Award.

Une Maison De Fummée

Two girls disappear from a country road the night Dominic’s mother dies in a house fire. Thirty years later, another girl goes missing and this time Dominic is going to find out why. Une Maison De Fummée by François Lévesque is a gripping tale that will have your attention from cover to cover. Unfortunately, this book is only available in French, but hopefully an English translation will come out soon!

Photo cred - Gabriele Soares


Like most books about Montreal, Cockroach deals with the not-so-nice side of Montreal. Written by Rawi Hage and published in 2008, the book is about a man from the Middle East who moves to Montreal and finds himself stuck in poverty. After undergoing therapy, and dealing with issues from this childhood, he begins to change how he sees himself, and not for the better. A dark comedy, this book will bring you from tears to laughter with the mere flip of a page.