Strange Heaven by Lynn CoadyStrange Heaven by Lynn Coady

Strange Heaven

byLynn CoadyAfterword byMarina Endicott

Paperback | May 28, 2010

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Winner, Atlantic Independent Booksellers Choice Award, Canadian Authors Association Air Canada Award, Dartmouth Book Award, and Thomas Head Raddall Award

Shortlisted, Governor General's Award for Fiction

She's depressed, they say. Apathetic. Bridget Murphy, almost eighteen, has had it with her zany family. When she is transferred to the psych ward after giving birth and putting her baby up for adoption, it is a welcome relief — even with the manic ranting of a teen stripper and come-ons of another delusional inmate.

But this oasis of relative calm is short-lived. Christmas is coming, and Uncle Albert arrives to whisk her back to the bedlam of home and the booze-soaked social life that got her into trouble in the first place. Her grandmother raves from her bed, banging the wall with a bedpan through a litany of profanities. Her father curses while her mother tries to keep the lid on developmentally delayed Uncle Rollie. The baby's father wants to sue her, and her friends don't get that she's changed.

Lynn Coady (b. 1970) grew up on Cape Breton Island and lived in New Brunswick before moving to Vancouver. Her first novel, Strange Heaven (Goose Lane, 1998), won the Dartmouth Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction. "Batter My Heart" appeared first in the Fiddlehead and is included in her second boo...
Title:Strange HeavenFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 8.47 × 5.5 × 0.48 inPublished:May 28, 2010Publisher:Goose Lane EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0864926170

ISBN - 13:9780864926173

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Strange Heaven: A Review from The Bibliotaphe Closet Strange Heaven by Lynn Coady is a fiercely intelligent and honest, transparent novel about a teenage girl named Bridget Murphy who first transfers herself to a children’s hospital psychiatric ward after giving birth to a baby and putting it up for adoption and then returns home for the Christmas holidays to her rambunctious and irreverent family. She is at the centre of the book as its narrator who is surrounded by dysfunctional, yet authentic characters found in the ward as Mona, the suspected pathological liar; Kelly and Maria, starving young girls with anorexia; and Byron, the insecure and attention-seeking megalomaniac. Together they form a quasi-family of sorts, one that is bound by the common thread of illness, dysfunction, and burden of being ostracized and misunderstood. The psychiatric ward becomes a form of escape and refuge for Bridget as well as an experimental outlet in which she can decide how she wants to respond to her personal trauma of birthing and ultimately who she can be as she creates for herself an adamant assertion to remain if not completely cold, certainly distant and outwardly indifferent. Those in the ward, too, represent the communal angst that reverberates throughout the helplessness and anxiety of the youth destitute towards the banality of pub-crawls and fist fights that daily drinking incurs, caged in a small town. But, they also represent a community in which Bridget’s apathy is not as isolated as she would prefer it to be—that is to say—Bridget Murphy is not alone. To read the rest of my review, you may visit my blog, The Bibliotaphe's Closet:
Date published: 2012-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just Like Home This book was written in everyday language of Cape Bretoners making it not only easy to read but bringing back memories from home for those of us that are displaced Cape Bretoners. It's not so much about events as about people and the way they think and react to situations given the place in the world where they are brought up. It's about relationships between friends and family from the perspective of a teenage girl. The writer really understands the girl's situation in life which makes you wonder if she may be writing about her own life.
Date published: 2000-02-26

Editorial Reviews

"An exciting debut . . . rivalling Roddy Doyle's black comedies of Dublin life." —