Safety in Bear Country
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Rapid-flowing and detailed, Heather Paul's debut novel follows Serena, a narrator who at the story's start, is back in the town she couldn't wait to leave. Dumped by her boyfriend and living in her parents' basement, she takes a job at her small town's main employer, an institution for people with developmental disabilities. When one of her residents dies in her arms, she flees the trauma, ultimately embarking on a journey that pushes and pulls her between constraint and freedom, despair and hope. Set in small-town Ontario, Australia, northern British Columbia, and Miami, Safety in Bear Country pulls its narrator through a world of inequity and spirituality, of activism and psychedelics as she labours to make sense of her place in the world.