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That Time I Loved You
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That Time I Loved You

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,007 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Life is never as perfect as it seems.

Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up, in new fiction from the author of the Toronto Book Award—shortlisted The Wondrous Woo

The suburbs of the 1970s promised to be heaven on earth—new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by HarperCollins Publishers
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In That Time I Loved You, Carrianne Leung gives us a sensitively observed, accessible collection of linked short stories set in a Scarborough, Ontario neighbourhood, an immigrant enclave that forms the large eastern section of the City of Toronto. Moving to Scarborough from Toronto’s seedy downtown is not merely a geographical shift for Leung’s characters, it is a confident first step upwards out of the working class and into a middle-class way of life.

Leung presents the narratives of a
Courtney Jones
Loved this one! Each chapter tells the story of a different family in a suburb of Toronto in the late 70s/early 80s with an overarching story about a Chinese teen, June. The collection of stories reminds us that not everything is as it seems and that you never truly know what is going on behind closed doors. The stories were thought-provoking, sometimes quite sad - but all so well written. I felt so connected to the characters which is rare for a collection of short stories. I think the author ...more
"THAT TIME I LOVED YOU is about children losing innocence and adults burying pain, and yet is also a hopeful portrayal of friendship, kinship and community."
- Farzana Doctor, author of ALL INCLUSIVE

For the neighbours in the brand new subdivision of Scarborough, secrets, longing and madness simmer beneath the bright surface in Carrianne Leung's linked stories set in the 1970's.

Through linked stories of June, an adolescent Chinese Canadian girl, and her neighbours from Portugal, Italy, Jamaica,
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been trying to read more Canadian authors lately, which led to me reading this book! What a fantastic collection of short stories all taking place in the same suburban neighbourhood. These stories are all intertwined and have characters from the other chapters popping into them. Such an intriguing read, with glimpses into the neighbour's lives! I highly recommend this one!
I was fully absorbed and thoroughly enjoyed That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung. This is a bit surprising since it is a book of linked stories. In some linked stories I’ve read, the author fails to pull all the different stories together in a cohesive way so that the reader does not necessarily get emotionally involved with each story. This is not the case however with That Time I Loved You. Carrianne Leung’s integration engaged me in every single linked story. I think part of this is Leung ...more
The residents of a Toronto suburb cope with growing up amid a spate of surprise suicides in the late 1970s and early 1980s in this linked short story collection. Leung explores different points of view on the same events and shows the changes that take place in the community over the course of several years. Three of the 10 stories are narrated by June, who is 11 years old at the start. Her parents came over from Hong Kong 15 years ago. Other stories fill in a kaleidoscopic view of the ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A collection of linked short stories set in 70s in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Beautiful and nostalgic. How come every writer who writes about Scarborough, writes so well? David Chariandy, Catherine Hernandez and now Carrianne Leung.
A. B. Neilly
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, canadian
It is a complex story of different characters living in a neighborhood in Scarborough, Toronto. The American dream is for many immigrants fulfilled only to find out that not everything is as good as it looks like.
The story starts when some of the parents commit suicide, told by one of the children that lives in the neighborhood. Then the POV shifts to other characters like in La Colmena, by Camilo José Cela.
The individual stories are compelling and the characters are complex and well
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit, short-stories
Oscillating between 3 and 4. There certainly are some memorable stories in That Time I Loved You. On the other hand... there certainly are some forgettable ones. The stories are linked by a neighbourhood in suburban Scarborough. So if you're looking for a range of stories in this collection, you're not going to be travelling outside a few streets' radius. What Carrianne Leung finds within this neighbourhood in the late 70s to early 80s is quiet and lively at the same time. While I didn't grow up ...more
In the 1970’s suburban community of Scarborough, there lay a promise of new life for many immigrants. Families arriving from other countries, or simply trying to get out of downtown Toronto, bought modest new homes in the new subdivisions with hopes that hard work would make their dreams come true. Carrianne Leung’s book of interconnected short stories about some of the families who lived on one particular street in Scarborough show how those dreams didn’t necessarily come true, and although ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started off a bit slow, and it was hard for me personally to reconcile the idyllic Scarborough veneer Leung describes with the more contemporary Scarborough I'm familiar with, but I really like some of the later chapters. The bit about the parents' suicides in the beginning didn't really grab me, and, I felt, didn't really go anywhere, but the final chapters were fantastic.

My favourites:
- "Things" - Darren's story about being Jamaican-Canadian and dealing with a math teacher who keeps picking
Elise Buller
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kind of felt like this novel didn’t really go anywhere? Don’t get me wrong I really liked the book but I felt like it just barely skimmed the top of what were some really great characters and their stories but that was it. I wanted more depth and more detail so I could get to know some of them better and follow along farther in their journey. I would like to give it 5 stars for the characters and story lines as I found it very interesting but at the same time only want to give it 3 stars as it ...more
Elena L.
This is a good collection of short stories setting in a suburb neighborhood (Scarborough) in 1970s: in "That time I loved you", the stories are interconnected and told in multiple narrators - this book approaches topics such as daily struggles, marriage, family, immigrants and unhappiness. The way Carrianne Leung describes the characters is well-developed, with diverse backgrounds and a pinch of dark humor and satirism. Though I didn't feel connected with any particular character, the writing is ...more

Perhaps you've had occasion to drive by or even visit one of the many suburbs that inevitably surround big cities. Maybe you've even wondered about the lives enclosed in these enclaves or what could induce people to move there in the first place. Hopefully, you are not living in

...this nothing place where you could walk and walk for hours and never arrive anywhere. 148

In these delicately linked stories CL cleverly exposes the neighbourhood dynamics as she escorts us on a guided tour. We get to
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just like everything I love put in one book. Idk what it is but books like this just remind me why I love reading and is just one that resonates.
The book is woven together by the different short stories, surrounding the characters June has interactions with. This book touches on the delicate issue of suicides, and their aftermaths in the little community of Scarborough. I liked it, even though "short stories" is not my genre, as all the characters are related. This book is on the longlist of Canada Reads 2019.
This book ticks off all of my book desires: interconnected stories, diverse characters, varying levels of darkness and humor, messed up/dysfunctional families, accidental beauty and effortless sadness and threads of joy and love and tenderness and vulnerability. At times super ralatable and at others new and learnable. LOVE IT!
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
That Time I Loved You opens with a “sit up and take notice” first sentence: “1979: This was the year the parents in my neighbourhood began killing themselves.”

The neigbourhood of 11-year-old June Lee, the first-person narrator of three of these ten interrelated stories, is a suburban enclave of Toronto. And the deaths are both literal and figurative. The old way is dying as the community expands uneasily to include other ethnicities and lifestyles—Chinese, Indian, Italian, Polish, black, gay,
Mary Lins
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: complete
“That Time I Loved You”, by Carrianne Leung, is ten very interconnected stories set in the late 1970s early 1980s in suburban Toronto. The first line is: “1979: this was the year the parents in my neighborhood began killing themselves.” Wow. What an arresting first line! Who wouldn’t keep reading? This first person narrator is pre-teen June Lee, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who live in a diverse, middle-class neighborhood. The ensuing stories have various narrative points of view, but June ...more
Maria Zuppardi
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Full review on my blog ReadingMaria.

This book is honestly my absolute favourite of the year (so far). It’s a collection that will be staying with me for a long time! I finished this a few days ago, but I’m still thinking about it. The characters, the situations, the writing…everything. I never thought in a million years that I would choose a short story collection as my absolute favourite. I felt every word and action deep in the feels. I found empathy where I might not have, there was anger,
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book for several reasons. It was very easy to read.. no fancy literary tricks to deal with, but just a simple story of life in the shiny new suburbs of Scarborough in the 1980's. It is a very accurate picture of the multi-culti life in Canada. Also, the author has a wonderful way of peeking inside the lives of her characters in a gentle and affectionate way. It deals with unhappiness and suicide, but never becomes morbid. The character of June is especially well drawn. I highly ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some stories are more crafted than others but the entirety of the tapestry Leung has woven is beautifully intricate. There is an intentional, yet not forced interplay between the desperation of the adults and the loss of innocence of the children. As a lover of diaspora literature, I also loved the multi-ethnic characters.

I also particularly appreciated the last paragraph in the author's ending acknowledgements. It has always been my hope to find what feels like personal messages in author's
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-reads
With each town I have been stopping in I go to the library and grab a book that I could easily read in a day. It’s like each book is a reminder of where I was at the time to help keep this experience contained in my memory. Right now, I am visiting Sydney, a very good friend, probably the best one I have right now, from my alma mater, Virginia Tech, and I’m around mile 637 on the trail! I’m more than a fourth of the way done.

I picked this one up not having ever heard of it, and the synopsis on
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A series of linked stories set in an "idyllic" Scarborough suburban neighbourhood in the late 1970s. The opening story sets the "there's more than what meets the eye" theme as a spate of suicides stirs up the possibility that perfect lawns do not perfect lives make. Most of the stories are told from the perspective of the kids growing up (who have their own secrets) but others are told from the perspective of the adults. Cracking the veneer of suburban life is not new territory but Leung expands ...more
Connie Crosby
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A suburban childhood gothic fiction set in 1970s Scarborough, Ontario. The story rotates through several characters from the same neighbourhood over the span of a couple of years. As a kid who lived in 1970s suburbia in both Quebec and Ontario, I find the voices ring true. I only wish this book was longer—I craved more stories from this neighbourhood.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating - 3.5 Stars. For this review and many others, please visit -

The best way to describe this book is – strangely addicting!

As the book opens on a newly built neighbourhood in Scarborough Ontario, just outside of Toronto, we see a group of people all looking for the same thing; the perfect suburban life. A stones throw away from the city, they’re in a quiet place with tree lined streets, not having to lock their doors, friendly hello’s as they
Chris Haak
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great stories about a couple of streets in suburbia, where on the surface everything appears to be perfect but it often isn't. There's friendship and love, but then there's also insecurity, depression and even suicide. I love the way Leung starts her stories, throwing you right in the midst of it all, making you curious, drawing you in.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to WW Norton & Co and NetGalley for providing this advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of my most satisfying reads of the year (2018). There’s a quirky, meditative mood as these connected stories unfold and we learn about this eclectic mix of neighbors. The residents are very diverse: Jamaican, Chinese from Hong Kong, East Indian, Portuguese, Italian, and Greek. Living on “sister” streets in a Toronto neighborhood, they maintain a friendly veneer. But
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is almost trying to be two things at once, but it all dovetails nicely together, so it works. Coming of age, tragedy for both the grown and the young are all explored in snapshots.
Erika Nerdypants
June is 9 years old, the year is 1979 and she lives in a brand new Scarborough subdivision. As the naive and protected child of Chinese immigrants she feels safe in her neighbourhood of other immigrant families. But when the parents start killing themselves, things start to subtly change all around her. Told in interconnecting stories by several different narrators, all of them living just houses away from each other, we learn that while on the surface all seems placid, this is far from true. ...more
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