Tuesday, January 12, 2010

House of Bears

House of Bears by Orysia Dawydiak (Acorn Press) just came out in December. It's a great debut novel written by a PEI author with a Ukrainian heritage. The story itself takes place in Ontario - shuffling between Toronto and a small northern mining community called Copper Creek. But the story also shuffles between the past and the present and so the reader travels overseas to Ukraine and the trauma of war and its consequences. It's a book about the immigrant experience, about family dynamics, and about finding one's self. In spite of many serious issues raised in the book - including suicide and alcoholism - I found myself chuckling as I recognized myself in the protagonist - Luba - reacting to her overbearing mother. Overbearing mother?

House of Bears is the kind of book that stays with you. It makes you think about big things like secrets, shame, and family - and about how love is a complicated dynamic energy that is so aptly expressed in the title of the book.

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