Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay
By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Author: Elizabeth Hay
Format: Hardcover, 376 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Pub Date: September 18, 2007
The first half of the book sets down the foundation of its flawed characters who slowly woo you into the landscape of the North. The North in its isolation, yet the closeness and intimacy of the township, and the realism and authenticity of the characters’ unique, yet easily recognizable personalities. They are rich and substantial, lacking stereotype. And their relationships with one another reveal their longing, their failings, and their complexities—especially in the form of love.
The latter half of the novel becomes an expedition into the Barrens of Yellowknife, a lovely, yet detailed and intelligent view of a land rarely visited or seen by man. It weaves Canada’s historical pioneering heroes into the landscape while documenting the beauty of the northern wilderness. At the same time, the characters themselves experience the glory of its vastness, abundance, and beauty, while resisting and eventually overcoming its treachery and harshness.
It is a story about journeying, crossing boundaries, and surviving. Not only in the extreme climates of the northern wilderness, but also of the extreme climate that can be found in unexpected relationships.
The characters who you come to care for are intelligent, witty, passionate, humble, and resilient.
It’s very easy to see why this beautifully written novel won the Giller Prize in 2007.