Over her 20-year-career, Madeleine Thien has rooted her storytelling in the personal and the political of Asian communities. In her latest novel, music became the point of departure.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: In the beginning is the sound, an unearthly, beautiful signature trumpet sound. A sound that blooms warm, velvety, broad, majestic, sure. A sound that can bite when it wants to, can riff molto allegro, but is never icy, never shrill, never crackly. A sound that breathes romance, sophistication, and style.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Ian McEwan, the acclaimed author of Amsterdam, Atonement, and Saturday, among many other works, talks about his youthful “reckless pessimism”, his currently optimistic world view, and what it means to live a good life.

Twenty-five-year-old soprano Simone Osborne has just finished eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, each time stopping the show by singing “O mio babbino caro” in the Canadian Opera Company’s recent production of Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi. “I’ve been there,” she says, laughing.

Even for a classical musician as adventurous as Yo-Yo Ma, his latest project might have you scratching your head: The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Huh? Ma laughs in sheer delight when asked about it. “We call ourselves ‘the goats,’ ” he says, referring to the other players on this record.

Over morning coffee at Balzac’s in Toronto’s Distillery District, Joseph Boyden muses about where he feels most at home. “There’s something called the ‘two-spirit person’ in a lot of First Nations cultures,” he says, “meaning somebody who is never completely in one physical place, in one mental place, and I think I’m a bit of a two-spirit person.”