Saturday, June 30, 2012
Guest Post- Ann Weir's review of Elizabeth Hay's Late Nights on Air
Throughout the novel, Hay does a good job of capturing the romance of both radio and living in the North. Setting the story in the mid-70’s gave me the sense of reading about a different and perhaps simpler time, when it’s believable that local radio was the best way for the residents of Yellowknife to feel connected to their part of the world and each other. Weaving in the events and result of the inquiry added to this mood and supported the narrative about the canoe trip nicely. The characters make their way through the pre-global warming/natural disaster Northwest Territories at a time when I, as an optimistic reader, get the sense that the results of the inquiry would have made a real and lasting difference. I did however find the contrast between the initial character driven story and the later descriptive chapters a bit awkward. Although this author’s descriptions of the sights and sounds of the canoe trip didn’t disappoint, I found the first part of the canoe trip to be uneventful and slow. Hay also sprinkled some unfortunate foreshadowing throughout the book that took away from the flow of the story. But that aside, Late Nights on Air is essentially an imaginative and moving story about personal loss, whether it’s loss of a person, an object, an ideal or a certain time in a certain place where everything seemed just about right.