Alone in the Classroom Paperback – Deckle Edge, Apr 10 2012
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A Globe and Mail Best Book
"Luminous. . . . Alone in the Classroom is meant to be read slowly, or even better, read twice. The story that unfolds, replete with poetry and punishment, passionate entanglements and incestuous love, is even richer and more rewarding the second time around."
—Globe and Mail
"Gripping. . . . A multilayered tale, the novel is at once a love story, a murder mystery and a journey into the darkest chambers of the human heart. Transcendent prose. . . . [Hay] conveys masterfully the complex power plays of the classroom."
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
ELIZABETH HAY is the author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel Late Nights On Air as well as three other award-winning works of fiction, Small Change, A Student of Weather, and Garbo Laughs. Formerly a radio broadcaster, she has spent time in Mexico and New York City, and now lives in Ottawa.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This tragedy unfolds not in isolation, but connects gradually to a confluence of other markers in the history of the Flood family, and the land, and culminates in an unbearably beautiful graveyard scene that encompasses various strands and prongs of multi-generational lives.
"You touch a place and thousands of miles away another place quivers. You touch a person and down the line the ghosts of relatives move in the wind."
Historian and writer Anne Flood takes a back seat in the first two-thirds of the novel, relating the story of her fiercely independent aunt and schoolteacher, Connie Flood, a woman of "unzipped, risqué fun." This also signals the incipient events of Connie's family commingling with Anne's. And at the library, Anne stumbles across some facets of history that have fallen into the crevices of time.
"...a child discovers something the parent has neglected to tell her and brings it into view again, naming it and locating it and establishing its importance." And this is the thematic thrust of the novel.
Sentient life is thickly threaded with the landscape, from the fertile marshland to the ripe vegetation, the narrow dirt roads and woody smells of childhood, the wide flat rocks and wildflowers, the dry and liquid movement of the seasons.Read more ›
An excellent book! Though a hard one to describe. The plot has many layers and is meandering to the point where it is not exactly what drives the book. The book is most certainly character driven and the relationships between these characters are what propels the story along. The story covers the time period from 1929 to 2008 and focuses on one Connie Flood, a school teacher, journalist, traveler; a woman of independence who takes lovers as she wants them and lives life to its fullest according to her small needs though she has a large presence. The book is told from the point of view of Connie's niece, who is telling the story from the first person, looking back telling a tale of which she is omniscient from each individual character's thoughts and feelings. This pov was hard to get used to, I must admit. The narrator only appears in the beginnings of the story a few times and when the word "I" is used I found it confusing to remember that "I" was not Connie but the narrator, Anne. This becomes more clear a little over half way through the book when Anne actually becomes a character in the story but then the flipping from near past to far past with this continued point of view still felt unusual to me. Now, it's not that I was totally annoyed with the pov, it was just hard to remember who was telling the tale, and it did slow down my reading speed.
The characters and their relationships, mostly triangles, are what make this book such an enticing, intense read.Read more ›
The novel opens with one of several disturbing and tragic events: One day in August 1937, thirteen-year-old Ethel Weir wandered off by herself to pick chokecherries that grew abundantly in the brush at the edge of the woods near her home in the Ottawa Valley. By sunset she was found, viciously murdered. Many years later, Anne, the first-person story teller, has returned to the town, the place of her mother's childhood, to retrace what happened that day and in the weeks and months that followed. "Stories from her past draw me on", she muses.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Elizabeth falls a little short with this novel as I expected it to be as good as Late Nights On Air. Read morePublished 2 months ago by StickyBunz
Hay does a masterful job weaving the various strands of three generations of the Flood family as it moves across the Canadian landscape through eight decades of history that... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ian Gordon Malcomson
Came back to this author having read Late Nights a few years ago-
her writing insinuates into one's psyche and pervades
over the years. Read more
If you like her, you will enjoy the Canadiana writing. There was a time jump in the book that kind of made you scramble to sort things out but overall it's a very readable book.Published 21 months ago by Nancy
I didn't particularly like the style of writing in this book or the contents. It did not keep me reading to find out more.I did finish it but wasn't that impressed.Published on Nov. 25 2013 by Janice Darlington
This was going to be the 2nd book that I read by Elizabeth Hay. I read Late night on Air a few years ago and enjoyed it. Read morePublished on April 28 2013 by Pat the cat
It's not all that often anymore that I want, more than anything else, to start a review with "I LOVED this book!" or my other stock response, "Holy CRAP, this man/woman can write! Read morePublished on Oct. 3 2012 by Timothy J. Bazzett
I am a fan of Elizabeth Hay. She develops her characters so well that you feel you really know them. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2012 by Lulu Adams
Found this a peculiar book. I felt confused some of the time, but still enjoyed it.Perhaps a more detailed summary would have helpedPublished on Aug. 2 2012 by liz