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From the Publisher
The eagerly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of
A Student of Weather and Garbo
Harry Boyd, a hard-bitten refugee from failure in Toronto
television, has returned to a small radio station in the Canadian
North. There, in Yellowknife, in the summer of 1975, he falls in
love with a voice on air, though the real woman, Dido Paris, is
both a surprise and even more than he imagined.
Dido and Harry are part of the cast of eccentric, utterly loveable
characters, all transplants from elsewhere, who form an unlikely
group at the station. Their loves and longings, their rivalries and
entanglements, the stories of their pasts and what brought each of
them to the North, form the centre. One summer, on a canoe trip
four of them make into the Arctic wilderness (following in the
steps of the legendary Englishman John Hornby, who, along with his
small party, starved to death in the barrens in 1927), they find
the balance of love shifting, much as the balance of power in the
North is being changed by the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas
pipeline, which threatens to displace Native people from their
Elizabeth Hay has been compared to Annie Proulx, Alice Hoffman, and
Isabel Allende, yet she is uniquely herself. With unforgettable
characters, vividly evoked settings, in this new novel, Hay brings
to bear her skewering intelligence into the frailties of the human
heart and her ability to tell a spellbinding story. Written in
gorgeous prose, laced with dark humour, Late Nights on
Air is Hay's most seductive and accomplished novel
On the shortest night of the year, a golden evening without
end, Dido climbed the wooden steps to Pilot's Monument on top of
the great Rock that formed the heart of old Yellowknife. In the
Netherlands the light was long and gradual too, but more meadowy,
more watery, or else hazier, depending on where you were. . . .
Here, it was subarctic desert, virtually unpopulated, and the light
was uniformly clear.
On the road below, a small man in a black beret was bending over
his tripod just as her father used to bend over his tape recorder.
Her father's voice had become the wallpaper inside her skull, he'd
made a home for himself there as improvised and unexpected as these
little houses on the side of the Rock - houses with histories of
instability, of changing from gambling den to barber shop to sheet
metal shop to private home, and of being moved from one part of
town to another since they had no foundations.
-From Late Nights On Air
From the Hardcover edition.