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072913i-Drowning-CactusThere’s a good chance for a meta moment Friday at Porter Square Books as Carrie Russell reads from her debut novel, “Drowning Cactus”: The novel is set partly in Massachusetts and includes scenes within Porter Square Books itself.

Russell, who studied writing at Columbia and Oxford, worked as an environmental advocate before she became a novelist, and says “Drowning Cactus” is inspired by her experiences in some of America’s most remote and threatened wilderness areas. But she’s also a Wayland native who moved to Cambridge in 2001 and attended Harvard, graduating in 2004. Some of that environmental advocacy? It was for the MBTA Green Line Extension in Somerville.

And although she lives in Pennsylvania, in 2013 she raised hackles, eyebrows and her local profile by declaring Somerville the hippest city in America.

She describes her novel as exploring “the transformative power of wilderness, following a cactus thief and a Somerville-based urban gardening instructor whose paths cross in the desert with touching and hilarious results.”

Russell will reading from “Drowning Cactus” at 7 p.m. Friday at Porter Square Books, 25 White St., Porter Square, and will be available to sign books and answer reader questions. Here website is here.

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