When Luba Kassim reluctantly returns home to Northern Ontario, her strained relationship with her traditional Ukrainian mother only heightens her feelings of alienation and isolation. A family crisis reunites her extended family but reignites old rivalries and the pain of long-held family secrets. Slowly, Luba begins piecing together her family's unspoken past, starting in the 1930s in Ukraine, followed by emigration to England and settlement in Canada. In the process, she uncovers some startling truths about her own identity, and learns that she and her mother have much more in common than she thinks.

In this stunning debut novel, the reader is led far into the personal journeys and hidden secrets of the very compelling characters who cut across generations and continents. Luba and her mother Volya are both strong and headstrong women as they confront each other's lives in ways that will lead them on a path from turbulence to transcendence. A luminous and unforgettable book.
-Irene Zabytko, author of When Luba Leaves Home and The Sky Unwashed

At its heart, House of Bears is a deeply moving study of a young woman's relationship with her mother and her mother's past. It offers a subtle, insightful exploration of the challenges faced by migrants and their offspring: people who speak different cultural languages and whose life experiences are so often at odds.
- Lisa Chilton, Department of History, University of Prince Edward Island, author of Agents of Empire: British Female Migration to Canada and Australia, 1860s-1930


Read a review in Edwards Magazine


BUILDING A HOUSE OF BEARS: An introduction to the launch December 3, 2009
by Orysia Dawydiak

Orysia reads at the launch