The Young in One Another’s Arms
By Jane Rule
An award-winning novel of lesbian identity and camaraderie amid violence and war
Ruth Wheeler is the one-armed caretaker of a motley crew of boarders living in her rooming house in Vancouver, British Columbia. The miscreants and outcasts in residence include a sexually confused academic, a one-time-dope-addict-turned-law-student, a high-minded deserter of the Vietnam War, a socially conscious female radical, and a gay man on the run from the cops. Despite personal differences and a turbulent outside world teeming with police brutality, the renters’ affection for one another grows and they form a progressive and idealistic “chosen family.”
However, Ruth’s devoted and assimilative spirit is put to the test when her property is slotted to be destroyed by developers. The household packs up and sails to Galiano Island, where they establish a new home, start a business, and strive to overcome the initial antipathy of their neighbors. They even decide to collectively raise a baby born from an unwanted pregnancy.
Winner of the 1978 Canadian Authors Association Best Novel of the Year Award, The Young in One Another’s Arms stands as one of the most sophisticated portrayals of an alternative model for domestic life.