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Barometer Rising Paperback – Dec 4 2007
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Barometer Rising is Hugh MacLennan's enormously ambitious first novel, a closely plotted and compulsively readable book that combines its author's love for nationalist melodrama with the grisly realism of a folk disaster-ballad. Published in 1941, as the Second World War was ripening into its full horror, Barometer Rising looks back to the Halifax of the last year of the First World War, and to one of the worst accidents in Canadian history: the explosion of the munitions ship Mont Blanc, responsible for 1,600 deaths, 9,000 injuries, and the annihilation of much of the city.
The story that MacLennan drapes over this catastrophe is the kind of suspenseful romance that would have made a fantastic Bogart and Bacall vehicle. Penelope Wain, a privileged woman in her late 20s, has found war work as a designer in her father's shipyards. Her male colleagues resent her presence but can't deny her superlative skill. A tough, independent, appealing woman, she still cherishes the memory of her former lover--her cousin Neil Macrae, who was disgraced in the war overseas and reportedly killed. Neil, however, did not die after all, and he has returned to Halifax to find Penelope and clear his name. The explosion of the Mont Blanc, which irrevocably alters the characters' lives, soon interrupts this potboiler of a plot.
MacLennan is a rather heavy-handed writer, fond of epic description and stylized, sentimentalized characters, but Barometer Rising holds together remarkably well. A much more entertaining book than Two Solitudes, it still has much of the intellectual thrust of MacLennan's later work and was one of the finest Canadian novels to appear in the 1940s. --Jack Illingworth --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
A major 20th century Canadian author, Hugh MacLennan was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, in 1907. His seven novels and many essays and travel books present a chronicle of Canada that often mediates between the old world of its European cultural heritage and the new world of American vitality and materialism. Among his many honours, he won five Governor General’s Awards. Hugh MacLennan died in Montreal in 1990.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"Barometer Rising" takes place in Halifax, Nova Scotia during 1917. The war in Europe continues to grind away, chewing up young men from around the world in its trenches and no man's lands. Nearly every passing day sees troopships exiting Halifax harbor bound for the bloodbath, and nearly every day they pass supply and munitions ships entering the port on their way to and from Europe. The city is full of foreign sailors and soldiers from every point of the compass. The war is a big deal, and since Canada serves as Britain's whipping boy, Halifax provides a safe harbor beyond the reach of German U-boats. But disaster lurks in the waters off Halifax: a munitions ship loaded with 500,000 pounds of trinitrotoluol sails into the harbor and collides with another ship. The resulting explosion is nearly nuclear in its destructiveness. Thousands die as major sections of the city explode and burn. The author shrewdly sets up his novel in countdown form, beginning on the Sunday before the explosion and ending the tale the following Monday, a few days after the disaster.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
i love it, in a very good condition, could have say it is a new book, no sign of used at all.Published on Dec 4 2013 by Sui HaoNan
A great book and a must have for anyone wishing to have a library of classic Canadian literature in their home. Pulp this isn't. Literature it is.Published on April 5 2013 by Rafid Haidar
I found this book very hard to get into. Our grade 12 english teacher picked it for a comprehensive novel study.I think that things just moved way too slow for my liking. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2003 by sarah
I had to read this book for english class... and I love it. Ithink that this is the the most amzaging book ever. I think thatColonel Wain kicked ( ). Read morePublished on June 15 2000