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Late Nights on Air Hardcover – Sep 18 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 18 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771038119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771038112
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 653 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 3 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a finely crafted portrayal of life in Canada's Far North! In her story, Hay effectively brings together a motley group of southerners in Yellowknife to work the northern airwaves for the CBC. This novel covers a time in the middle 70s when the North was opening up to development of its great deposits of oil and natural gas, and people were coming from points south to start a new life for themselves. What many were not prepared for was the incredible struggle they would have to go through to assert their identity. The land that they are about to enter is described in the novel in all its unexpected ferocity, unimaginable vastness, haunting beauty, forsaken loneliness and unyielding naturalness. Intimidating enough to send any newcomer packing after their first winter! The barren world that confronts these outsiders - Harry, Gwen, Eddie, Dido, Ralph and Eleanor - is one that can only be temporarily subdued by the power and lure of transmitted voices breaking into other's confined living spaces dotted over the hundreds of miles of open wasteland. All the above physical dimensions have the power to keep northerners eking out a living in tiny communities hugging the banks of the many rivers like the mighty Mackenzie. For the whiteman there is no substitute for the human voice, even though people like Gwen attempt to go out and capture the numerous sounds of wildlife on tape to compensate for the real thing. It is the magnetic qualities of the Dido's voice on a late night program that initially draws Harry to her in what turns out to be an unhappy affair. The trouble with a voice pattern is that while it becomes the initial badge of identity in the far reaches of nowhere, it only serves to lead people to each other in the hope of forming more lasting contacts.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This book manages to do something not many can, last one I can remember doing this good a job is "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry. That is bring into sharp focus the characters and relationships of a time and place in such a way that you truly believe them to be real people, and then take these people and cast them against a wild landscape. The story is as much about the how the characters relate to each other as to how they relate to their environment. In "Lonesome Dove" McMurtry takes a cast of well rendered characters and takes them on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. "In Late Nights on Air" Hay introduces us to the people who work at a Yellow Knife radio station in the wild and wooly Canadian North. Once I started this book it was impossible to put down! Another book that captures a slice of life in a wild place I recommend is "Across the High Lonesome" I did not think it as strong as this novel but still a worthy read.
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Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to love this novel...heck, I would settle for even liking this novel. After all, as other reviewers have pointed out, it is the 2007 Giller Prize winner. However, Late Nights on Air is a complete disappointment. Admittedly, I had high expectations for this novel, as it is a prize winner, but it falls short in the slow pacing of the plot, a totally unsatisfying conclusion, and the inclusion of too many stereotyped and marginal characters.

The novel's setting is Yellowknife, and author Elizabeth Hay's imagery does evoke both the desolate beauty and cruelty of the physical environment. Unfortunately, the main plot and several secondary subplots that are interwoven together never really generate any tension or excitement until perhaps the last third of the novel in which four characters take a six week canoe trip. The ending leaves most of the flat, kitchy characters in unpleasant circumstances. I am not against sad endings by any means; however, the sadness that surrounds most of these characters is the similar to the sorrowful and isolated circumstances in which many of them begin, and in some cases, even worse. As the characters are not dynamic, transformations do not occur, and it is hard to care about or relate to many of them. As one of the students in my English class pointed out, the characters seem too similar to characters from 90s television show Northern Exposure and current Canadian comedy Corner Gas. If you like these shows, you may like the characters in this book. I am not a fan of the shows or this book!

The struggles of Canada's north are important issues that often get ignored by politicians, the mainstream media, and many people living in the country's urban and suburban areas.
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Format: Hardcover
I finished Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay this past weekend. I decided to read this book because it won the Giller Prize in 2007. Did I like this book? Yes. Was it a great book? No. Did it deserve to win the Giller? Maybe. Would I recommend the book to someone else? Not sure.

The book though is most definitely what I would categorize as "Chick Lit". There's nothing wrong with Chick Lit, especially if you're a woman. But as a guy, obviously I don't read a lot of the particular genre.

What I liked most about the novel is the focus it gave to the CBC. As someone who has been interested in the inner workings of the Mother Corp, I thought Hay did a great job of explaining the politics behind the scenes. She also did a good job of explaining the loneliness that takes place in northern Canadian communities, and how the winter seasons can drag on and on and on.

So what didn't I like? Specifically I was not a fan of how Hay wrote about the First Nations. She tried to portray them as being "one" with the landscape and therefore deserved some type of special treatment by the Berger Commission looking in to the proposed oil and gas pipeline. Whatever. I would have enjoyed the book more if Hay had focused more on the story line and less on politics.

Read this book if you're interested in life in Northern Communities. Read this book if you like reading novels that have won the Giller. Don't read this book if you're expecting the great Canadian novel.
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