That Time I Loved You

That Time I Loved You

by Carrianne Leung
  • diversity
  • from-ontario
  • literary
  • short-stories

“1979: This was the year the parents in my neighbourhood began killing themselves.”

Reminiscent of Mona Awad’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, this collection of linked stories reveals children trying to make sense of a new environment that their parents cannot explain to them. The adults are lost when they discover that their idyllic new suburban landscape is home to dark secrets, and is not the haven that they thought it was.

The 1970s suburbs promised to be heaven on earth — new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world, a series of sudden catastrophic events reveals that not everyone’s dreams come true. Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up. Moving from house to house, Leung explores the inner lives behind the tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows, always returning to June, an irrepressible adolescent Chinese-Canadian coming of age in this shifting world. With dark humour June observes death and endures betrayal and heartbreak, all to a 1970s pop music sound track, as she prepares to venture out into the wider world.

Through June and her neighbours, Leung depicts the fine line where childhood meets the realities of adult life, and examines, with insight and sharp prose, how difficult it is to be true to ourselves at any age.


Carrianne Leung, author

Carrianne Leung’s first novel, The Wondrous Woo (Inanna Publications) was a finalist for the 2014 City of Toronto Book Award. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies from OISE/University of Toronto and lives in Toronto.


  • “That Time I Loved You" is amazing, heart-breaking, probing, tender; apocalyptic, in the truest sense. With an activist’s compassion and a poet’s eye, Leung challenges everything we knew (or thought we knew) about the suburbs. Behind the facade of tidy houses, manicured lawns, and well-behaved dogs live characters imprisoned by sadness and despair, battling racism and social injustice, yet relentless in their pursuit of love. This is the best coming-of-age story I’ve read in a long time. - Yasuko Thanh, author of The Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains
  • Written in the tradition of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri, Leung’s debut story collection marks the career of a writer to watch. - starred Kirkus review
  • This compact gem of a collection of linked short stories… dazzles with its subtly… befriends its reader in the dead of night… [and] leaves a lasting impression and a new way of understanding people and the world. - Marissa Stapley, Globe and Mail
  • Crystalline prose, sharp storytelling, and pitch-perfect narration enhance Leung’s accessible and affecting depiction of how cruelty undermines and kindness fortifies people’s sense of community. - Publishers Weekly


  • Shortlisted, City of Toronto Book Award

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: The Bukowski Agency



rights sold: Canada (HarperCollins); US (Liveright/Norton); World English Audio (Audible)

rights available: World, excl. Canada and the United States

Additional Information

number of pages: 224

publication date: 03/27/2018

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book

Additional Materials: More on That Time I Loved You