Yet another strong narrator appears in Lynn Coady's Strange Heaven
(Goose Lane, 216 pages, $17.95 paper) in the form of Bridget Murphy. Bridget, almost eighteen, is hibernating in the psychiatric ward of a Halifax children's hospital after the birth of her baby, which she has given up for adoption and in whose father she has not the slightest interest. She likes the routine, the predictability of hospital life, so different from her chaotic, emotionally turbulent home environment in a small Cape Breton town. When her uncle insists that Bridget return home for the Christmas holidays, she is faced once again with family and friends, all of whom she finds trying; they require far too much energy.
Despite her seeming apathy, Bridget is a survivor with an appealing sense of black humour and a healthy disdain for convention. The voice in Strange Heaven is clear, resonant, and unmistakably true-certainly a notable accomplishment for any writer but perhaps even more so for one who, like Coady, is only twenty-eight.