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“Ascension Forestry Resources announced today the indefinite idling of its paper mill in Balneal, Nova Scotia. The Balneal Mill employed close to three hundred people…”
Hal Stevens can’t understand why his big hands aren’t strong enough to hold his family together. Doreen’s disappointments with him are measured by her layers of makeup, and her collection of empty vodka bottles. When Hal loses his job of 23 years, his marriage is quick to follow. His daughter, Brandy is caught in a whirlpool of dissolving options as they all struggle to stay afloat. She can barely make it through a day at school without imploding, but the names the boys call her are nothing compared to life with Doreen. Until Alice comes to town, a beautiful lesbian with a broken heart, and both father and daughter are drawn to her like the tide to the shore. Toss in a Korean foreign exchange student, a grandmother with alzheimer’s and a divorced pensioner with a dying cat and you have small town Nova Scotia coping in difficult times, with humor, resilience, karaoke and rain… at times heavy.
Both poignant and comical, Hal Stevens’ story resonates with compassion for the men and women whose lives are set adrift when big industries close. It is a story of family, of impossible romances and resilience when life feels like road kill on a rural highway.
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