Late Nights on Air Hardcover – Sep 18 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
After being fired from his latest television job, a disgraced Harry Boyd returns to his radio roots in the northern Canadian town of Yellowknife as the manager of a station no one listens to, and finds himself at the center of the station's unlikely social scene. New anchor Dido Paris, both renowned and mocked for her Dutch accent, fled an affair with her husband's father, only to be torn between Harry and another man. Wild child Gwen came to learn radio production, but under Harry's tutelage finds herself the guardian of the late-night shift. And lonely Eleanor wonders if it's time to move south just as she meets an unlikely suitor. While the station members wait for Yellowknife to get its first television station and the crew embarks on a life-changing canoe expedition, the city is divided over a proposal to build a pipeline that would cut across Native lands, bringing modernization and a flood of workers, equipment and money into sacred territory. Hay's crystalline prose, keen details and sharp dialogue sculpt the isolated, hardy residents of Yellowknife, who provide a convincing backdrop as the main cast tromps through the existential woods. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
#1 National Bestseller
“Elizabeth Hay has created her own niche in Canadian fiction by fastening her intelligence on the real stuff — the bumps and glories in love, kinship, friendship.”
— Toronto Star
“Hay exposes the beauty simmering in the heart of harsh settings with an evocative grace that brings to mind Annie Proulx.”
— Washington Post
"Dazzling....A flawlessly crafted and timeless story, masterfully told.” — Jury citation, the Scotiabank Giller Prize
“Exquisite….Hay creates enormous spaces with few words, and makes the reader party to the journey, listening, marvelling….” — Globe and Mail
“This is Hay’s best novel yet.” — Marni Jackson, The Walrus
“Invites comparison with work by Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood. Outside Canada, one thinks of A.S. Byatt or Annie Proulx.” — Times Literary Supplement
“Written by a master storyteller.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“Psychologically astute, richly rendered and deftly paced. It’s a pleasure from start to finish.” — Toronto Star
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Top Customer Reviews
A trip into the Barrens to retrace the route of explorer John Hornby was my favorite part of the book. The author does an excellent job of capturing the essence of this wild place, and bringing to life its effect on the human visitors/inhabitants. The last book that did as good a job at this was "Across the High Lonesome" another excellent slice of life book set in the high mountains of California.
There is also Eleanor, the wise and supportive receptionist, Gwen the woman who drove cross-country hoping for a producer job behind the scenes, but instead is put on as an amateur announcer, and there is Ralph the book critic and photographer. Of course, Yellowknife is also a central character with its beauty and biting cold.
In the background, we learn about the real life controversy of the proposed Mackenzie River Valley natural gas line, which threatens to go into the Arctic and destroy native people's land. We also learn the rich history of the extraordinary explorer John Hornby, which prompts Harry, Eleanor, Gwen, and Ralph into an ambitious and difficult 6-week journey through the harsh climate on foot and by canoe.
Throughout the entire book Elizabeth Hay allows us to get to know and love the richly-textured characters that come to life. I felt as if I was part of the book as I was reading it. Having to bundle up when reading about the harsh winters and in awe of the beauty both sounds and sights that Hay paints. The characters seem like people who are true to life, which makes the book very readable and believable.
Hay won the prestigious Giller Prize for this work and I couldn't agree more. This book is a must read and will appeal to readers of literary fiction, fine character studies, and historical fiction alike. This was my first voyage through Elizabeth Hay and it has left me yearning for more by this outstanding author.
Most recent customer reviews
I'd rate this book a 3 1/2 star read. At times slow and at times very evocative and lyrical, this book was a novel to take some time to read, one to savour and also to at times... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Laraine
A few years ago I got onto reading Canadian novelists and boy, what a treasure trove I did find! This novel, which takes place in Yellowknife, a place completely remote from my... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Carolyn L. Zaremba
I loved the fable ambience of this book, how it highlights the fragility of life and relationships in a harsh climate. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Crystal
I found that the book was not a particularly interesting read. As I read the book, I found that very little was going on in the story. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Allan Caine
A wonderful novel, full of thought provoking characters and great Canadiana! I am looking forward to reading more of her books.Published on March 20 2013 by Breakmel
Where to even begin? Elizabeth Hay's eloquence and utter humanity has nearly struck me dumb. I loved this book, LATE NIGHTS ON AIR, so much that I didn't want it to end. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2012 by Timothy J. Bazzett
This was the title of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in 1975-1977. The title takes into consideration the diverse perspective of the different groups of people living in the... Read morePublished on June 16 2010 by Friederike Knabe
I don't understand how this book won awards. When I received it as a birthday present, I couldn't wait to read it. I absolutely love Canadian literature. Read morePublished on April 5 2010 by AJ
Late Nights on Air is not a page-turning, breath-taking, unable-to-put-down book. Rather, it is a book meant to be read slowly and leisurely, much in the same way the story itself... Read morePublished on May 14 2009 by Rhea