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The Sweetgrass Tattoo, by Loren Cruden

The American West is on fire, but, deep in a forest pocket, a young woman survives elemental disaster by denning with a bear.

Anya, a Korean-American orphan, adapts to life in the forest as weather extremes heighten, social cohesion crumbles and militias dominate the countryside. Anya becomes adept at foraging and looking after herself, resonant with the land and its creatures but alienated from humanity. When circumstances lead her to a sanctuary community after years alone in the forest, Anya is faced with what becomes the greater challenge – opening to alliances with her own species.

The Sweetgrass Tattoo illumines some of the most pressing issues before us: the catastrophic impact of the climate crisis and the imperative to find right relationship with one another and the natural world upon which we depend. Through Anya’s unique journey we experience a perspective beyond human identity’s assumed boundaries. Loren Cruden has written a haunting, provocative fable for our times.

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