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
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.Read more ›
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.
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 18 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 23 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 on June 3 2014 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 on March 8 2014 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