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A Student of Weather Paperback – Feb. 27 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 ratings

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Product details

  • Paperback : 376 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0771037902
  • Item Weight : 372 g
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0771037900
  • Publisher : Emblem Editions; 1st Emblem Editions publication 2001 (Feb. 27 2001)
  • Dimensions : 13.74 x 1.8 x 21.31 cm
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31 ratings

Product description

From Amazon

A stranger emerges from the snow-swept prairie, and the moment a young girl touches the "coin of frostbite" on his cheek, she sets off a rivalry that will span 30 years and follow her from the Saskatchewan dust bowl to apple-plenty Ottawa and the humid bustle of New York City. "A child falls in love with a man," the tale goes, "and the man is seduced by the intensity he has generated. Then his attention shifts to something else. End of story." But this is hardly the extent of Elizabeth Hay's Giller-nominated debut novel, A Student of Weather. For when easterner Maurice Dove arrives in parched Willow Bend to study the unusual phenomenon of the Hardy farm's being a veritable "magnet for moisture," he irrevocably disrupts the rhythm of the routine and the hearts of two Hardy sisters: golden Lucinda June and small, dark, unpredictable Norma Joyce.

A Student of Weather is a deftly textured novel about how accidents, in life and weather, impact destiny and how reticence can maim and claim lives. It is about arrivals and leave-takings, forgiveness bestowed then retracted, and the power of artwork to redeem and heal. Hay builds her characters and the world they inhabit from the small details: domestic, elemental, psychological, mythological. The novel's dark luminosity is perfectly embodied by the sisters, whose complex psyches lurk, subdermally, beneath every act, gesture, glance. The saga moves restlessly back and forth across the country, but its true beauty and strength lie in the Saskatchewan sections: the passages describing a seemingly barren grassland teeming with life are like "stepping outside into a burst of liquid birdsong." --Diana Kuprel


“There has never been a sister, lover, or daughter like Elizabeth Hay’s haunted Norma Joyce. A Student of Weather is as evocative as Jane Campion’s The Piano in its erotic obsessions and relentless quest for love and art. A sensual treasure.”
–Linda Svendsen

“Hay exposes the beauty simmering in the heart of harsh settings with an evocative grace that brings to mind Annie Proulx.…I was so moved by Norma Joyce’s painful, haunting journey to wisdom – and Elizabeth Hay’s telling of it – that I wanted to go back to the beginning and start again.”
The Washington Post

“This is a book to break (and warm) your heart over and over.…Hay’s language is precise, economical and evocative. In A Student of Weather, every word counts.”
Ottawa Citizen

“In stunningly precise and suggestive prose, Hay tells a story of obsession and rivalry.…Hay’s yearning, suffering women have the lit-from-within emotional intensity of D.H. Lawrence’s.…Brilliant.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A brilliant exploration of the universal themes of pain and betrayal and survival, rendered with such a sure, deft touch that Hay seems to be discovering new literary territory…”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“Be warned! You won’t be able to set this seductive book down until you’ve finished – sadder, wiser, and gladder to be alive.”
–Isabel Huggan

“In elegant and exacting prose, Elizabeth Hay lays bare the perilous power of love and all that we prefer to keep hidden about ourselves. Unsparing and unsettling, this exceptional first novel shines.”
–Diane Schoemperlen

A Student of Weather is complicated, compelling, and beautifully told.”

“Hay’s contemplative yet dramatic ballad to beauty, autonomy, and creativity is akin to the work of Alice Hoffman and Isabel Allende…enthralling.…”
Booklist (starred review)

“More than any other forecast, A Student of Weather reads the signs that mark the blessings and curses of persistence.…”
Ottawa Citizen

“Hay’s book both captivates and astonishes. Read A Student of Weather and rejoice.”
London Free Press

“Compelling and highly original.…”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Bad weather erupts and the result is the creation of an unforgettable fictional world.…This is a book to savour, to ponder and to read a second and third time.…A Student of Weather is first-class: heartfelt, with a sureness of touch and beauty of expression rare in fiction today.”
–Montreal Gazette

“This is a wise book, artful and impressively intelligent.…”
Globe and Mail

“Hay has created a character who burrows into your mind and stays there. Norma Joyce is not larger than life, she is life, and she comes to us fully formed in this rich, compelling, satisfying novel.”
National Post

“A work of rare beauty and integrity. Hay has created a heroine, Norma Joyce Hardy, who will linger in the mind long after the last chapter ends.”
Ottawa X Press

“Elizabeth Hay has intelligence coming out of her fingertips – integrity, insight, and wonder in every paragraph of her writing.…She connects. She stirs and provokes.”
–Timothy Findley

Customer reviews

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Top reviews from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on May 4, 2018
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Reviewed in Canada on December 25, 2016
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Reviewed in Canada on November 23, 2015
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Reviewed in Canada on November 8, 2014
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Reviewed in Canada on November 12, 2014
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Reviewed in Canada on September 18, 2015
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Reviewed in Canada on May 8, 2001
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Top reviews from other countries

Mary C. V. Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars ... of the farms "out West" and of Ottawa are excellent and give the reader a real feel of the ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 10, 2015
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Canada at its best
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2004
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3 people found this helpful
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H. Lacroix
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2008
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Marilyn Raisen
5.0 out of 5 stars How Many Stars Are In The Sky
Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2011
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3 people found this helpful
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