The Next Chapter

If you liked Girl Interrupted, you'll love Strange Heaven by Lynn Coady

A listener recommends a great Canadian novel for fans of Susanna Kaysen's classic memoir
Girl Interrupted and Strange Heaven are both about young women in psychiatric wards. (Vintage, Goose Lane)

This interview originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Ellen Helleur from Trent Lakes near Bobcaygeon, Ont., thinks that if you liked Susanna Kaysen's striking memoir Girl, Interrupted, you'll love Strange Heaven by Canadian writer Lynn Coady. Here's why.

"Girl Interrupted is a memoir, while Strange Heaven is fiction. But they have a similar feel to them. In both stories the protagonists are teenage girls, aged 18 and 17, who are admitted into a psychiatric hospital after a pivotal event in their lives. One had an affair and the other had a baby and gave it up for adoption. Both books focus on their relationships at the psychiatric ward.

"Strange Heaven was just plain hilarious, but it was heartbreaking too. I found it to be really entertaining and the eccentric characters were so believable. It's amazing. In the end I thought the genius of Coady was in her ability to create bigger than life, but convincingly life-like, characters. They were loud, brash and sympathetic, the whole gamut of personalities. You can see and hear them in your mind's eye as you read."

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