I haven't read a lot of fiction from 2011 so I'll call this a favourite list rather than a best of list. & just to be difficult or paradoxical or rule-breaking or something like that. what I like in fiction is fairly straight-forward: compelling stories, characters I can care about in some way (even loathe), not a lot of fooling around with narrative alas. & if the author's style is so odd & heavy-handed that I can't get past it & therefore can't suspend my disbelief & get lost in the book, I tend not to enjoy it. here's the list of short story collections & novels that kept me happily turning pages in 2011.
Clark Blaise, The Meagre Tarmac (Biblioasis)
Matthew Firth, Shag Carpet Action (Anvil Press)
Helen Oyeyemi, Mr Fox (Penguin) (not sure this qualifies as Canadian, but I'll include it because it's so damn good)
Ami McKay, the Virgin Cure (Alfred A. Knopf Canada)
Lynn Coady, the Antagonist (House of Anansi)[i won this thru a CBC Books contest on Twitter. thank you CBC!]
& a special mention to the unputdownable books from 2010 that I read in 2011:
Krakow Melt by Daniel Allen Cox, Fauna by Alissa York, Lemon by Cordelia Strube, Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn, Annabel by Kathleen Winter, Sanctuary Line by Jane Urquhart.
finally particularly for fiction recommendations, but also for a bit of poetry & non fiction, I suggest you take a look at the fabulous Advent Book Blog.
ps. close viewers will note that a book pictured in the photo but not mentioned is "textual vishyuns, image and text in the work of bill bissett" by Carl Peters. this is not fiction, but it happened to be on my desk during book photo shoot. because i am reading it & enjoying it. i won it via CKCU's Friday Special Blend with Susan Johnston & the A B Series. thanks to them!