Late Nights on AirLate Nights on Air

ISBN: 978-0-7710-3811-2
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

“Elegiac …. exquisite …. Hay creates enormous spaces with few words, and makes the reader party to the journey, listening, marvelling, breathing, fearing.”
—Globe and Mail

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Winner of the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize

2008 Ottawa Book Award

2008 Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year

Notable Book of the Year, Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire

About the Book

Harry Boyd, a world-weary, washed-up television broadcaster, has returned to a small radio station in the remote reaches of the Canadian North. There, in the golden summer of 1975, he falls in love with a voice on air, though the real Dido Paris is even more than he imagined.

Dido and Harry are part of the cast of eccentric and fascinating 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, are at the heart of the novel.

Then one summer, four of them embark upon a long canoe trip into the Barrens, a mysterious landscape of lingering ice and almost continuous light. In that wild and dynamic arctic setting (following in the steps of the legendary Englishman John Hornby, who 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 a proposed gas pipeline that threatens to displace Native people from their land.



The Globe and Mail review of Late Nights on Air

The Arctic is hot, but I doubt that is why accomplished Canadian novelist Elizabeth Hay wrote a novel set in Yellowknife and the Barrens in the mid-1970s. In Late Nights on Air, Hay has returned to a city and landscape she knew in the 1970s. Returned in her...

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La Presse review (in French) of La nuit sur les ondes

Elizabeth Hay décrit avec passion la majesté de ce paysage vierge du bout du monde, la beauté de la végétation et, en digne femme de radio, les sons de la toundra, comme celui des caribous, "le cliquetis de leurs sabots, les ahanements de leur nage et le bruit sourd...

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The New York Times review of Late Nights on Air

According to Harry Boyd, one of the main characters in Elizabeth Hay’s new novel, radio is like poetry and television is like a blockbuster novel. A radio program, Harry continues, is “about one person learning something interesting and telling it to somebody else. In...

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Quill & Quire review of Late Nights on Air

Some writers are known more for their affectations than their output. They busy themselves grooming a persona, or perhaps a sartorial signifier (knotted scarf, horn-rimmed glasses) to flag their idiosyncratic nature. They hold up the wall at a neighbourhood dive,...

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Pickle Me This review of Late Nights on Air

So often, unsurprisingly, we find ourselves employing metaphors of artistry when it comes to a well-crafted book. Writers "weave" narratives, "paint" images, and, yes "craft" at all. Similarly, I recently wrote about a book's machinery. And all this is high praise,...

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