A compelling contemporary novel set in Canada and Ukraine that follows a nuclear engineer obsessed with preventing disaster, from the author of One Who Has Been Here Before.
Jessica Manchaky's life has been shaped by the threat of nuclear disaster. She's a child when she hears news of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and the disappearance of Ukrainian relatives, growing up on a northern Alberta military base during the Cold War. From that moment on, all she wants is to keep danger at bay.
But living in a household with a domineering and volatile mother and a rebellious older brother in isolated Cold Lake, Alberta, Jessica never feels fully safe. When she comes of age, she leaves her suffocating small town for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she meets her future husband and eventually becomes a nuclear engineer in charge of risk assessment and management at nuclear power plants. But even as she shields the world from nuclear disaster, she is constantly facing personal tragedies — like a strained marriage, a misogynistic workplace, and severe postpartum anxiety — that she never quite manages to predict. When her young daughter is afflicted with a mysterious and potentially deadly illness, Jessica must learn to accept that not all risk can be managed.
Beginning with the threat of the Cold War and the ripple effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and punctuated by other disasters both natural and manmade, Some There Are Fearless is an intimate and vulnerable exploration of the thin line between control and chaos from the author of the "terrific debut" (Globe and Mail) One Who Has Been Here Before.
About the author
Becca Babcock is an award-winning writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Alberta and a PhD from Dalhousie University. She often worries about being asked for medical help and having to explain she’s not that kind of doctor. She has previously published a short story collection, Every Second Weekend, and her fiction has appeared in literary magazines in Canada and abroad. One Who Has Been Here Before is her first novel.
"When we love, we want to protect. And when we can't protect, what then? A Cold War novel — and a novel about cold wars — Some There Are Fearless takes us to the radioactive dangers and careful hope of the human need to love and be loved."
— Michelle Butler Hallett, Thomas Randall Award–winning author of Constant Nobody
"A touching, quietly suspenseful novel that beautifully captures the complexity of human connection and the anxiety of growing up under threat of disaster. Babcock brings her characters to vivid life on the page, skillfully weaving a narrative that leaps through space and time to consider the unpredictability of life itself."
— Renée Belliveau, ReLit — nominated author of The Sound of Fire
"Some There Are Fearless is an absorptive read rooted in the post-Chernobyl era that follows a woman's trepidatious journey through family and career tensions against a backdrop of lurking peril, and had me rooting for her to triumph."
— Alison DeLory, author of Making It Home
"An exploration of power, responsibility, and heartbreak. Gripping."
— Rachel Barenbaum, author of Atomic Anna
"In Some There Are Fearless, Becca Babcock explores the fear, tension, and complex emotions of motherhood, as well as the joy. With tender subtlety, she digs deep into the terror of loving, while wanting to protect the ones we love, the guilt and grief of our own powerlessness, and the ways in which childhood scars stifle our best intentions as we desperately try not to recreate the past."
— Charlene Carr, author of Hold My Girl