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Late nights on air par Elizabeth Hay

Late nights on air (original 2007; édition 2008)

par Elizabeth Hay

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9866416,515 (3.65)201
It's 1975, and the town of Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories is in the middle of a dispute over a pipeline through the area. The small local radio station who reports on the controversy is undergoing some changes of its own. Hard-edged veteran broadcaster Harry Boyd has taken over as manager, and he has his eye on beautiful young Norwegian transplant Dido.… (plus d'informations)
Titre:Late nights on air
Auteurs:Elizabeth Hay
Info:Toronto : Emblem, 2008.
Collections:Liste de livres désirés

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Late Nights on Air par Elizabeth Hay (2007)


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Affichage de 1-5 de 64 (suivant | tout afficher)
This story revolves around people who work at a radio station in the mid-1970s in Yellowknife, NWT. Dido and Gina are fairly new to Yellowknife and the radio station. All the men seem to be attracted to Dido.

Wow, this was boring. There were a couple of mildly interesting things that happened – thee was debate on a new pipeline that a company wanted to put in and a woman disappeared in winter. But, overall, pretty slow and boring. And I didn’t see one likable thing about Dido, who seemed to just go back and forth between the men. In fact, I don’t think I really liked very many of the characters… maybe Gwen, but then I skimmed so much of the book in the end, so hard to say if she really was likable.

I’m not sure why I added it to the tbr… looking now, I see it was either nominated for or won the Giller Prize, which should have been a red flag waving me away, but if the story initially sounds interesting, I will still often try them. I see the GR description also says “Written in gorgeous prose…”, which should also be a warning to me. ( )
  LibraryCin | May 16, 2021 |
I feel I owe an apology to the person on my bookclub that chose this book. I don’t know from where exactly come by negative bias, but I was under the impression that this would be yet another romantic melodrama. Yes, it is a romantic book as the main theme is love, unrequited love actually, but Elizabeth Hay never let us down into commonplace. The prose is poetic, and the background of the Canadian North is suggestive. Here is what the Canadian magazine Walrus has to say about it, as they say so much better than I could:

Late Nights On Air is set in a small Yellowknife radio station in 1975, where two young women are learning on the job as novice broadcasters reading the news during the slow hours of the night. A radio station is a perfect setting for writing about the isolation and the community of the North.

One of them, the alluring Dido Paris, is a natural, with a voice “like a tarnished silver spoon.” The other is a shy but unswerving easterner, Gwen Symon. It was a cbc radio drama about the English explorer John Hornby and his fatal journey into the Barrens that compelled Gwen to get in her car and drive over 3,000 miles to see the tundra for herself. Hornby, in fact, is the ghostly central character of Hay’s story.

People pull up stakes abruptly in the North, and so do the multiple characters in this book, which is a bit unnerving. Once several affairs are set in motion among the staff, the story abandons the radio station and moves out into the landscape. Two couples embark on a six-week canoe trip where the evocation of the tundra — its emptiness, silence, and delicate beauty — is stunning, almost a new species of erotica. Hay portrays the tender bonds that are forged (and broken) in such wild places.

The novel brims with curious data, too. In the course of her story, Hay swoops down like a raven on odd, shiny bits of information about the North. The tufts of soft muskox hair that snag on branches in the bush are called qiviut; the violet shades of the northern lights are due to nitrogen; the sound of someone crawling into a tent pitched on dry lichen in the tundra is a dry crackling, like wrapping paper. Nothing seems to escape her. This is Hay’s best novel yet.

( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
In the mid 1970s in the northern Canadian town of Yellowkinfe 6 people have pivot points in their lives, two leaving the four others variously haunted who take a trip echoing John Hornby's disastrous last venture. There is a much better book in here, with a less sepia toned beginning and devoid of the author's gracelessly misdirected foreshadowing remarks, the need to neaten the ending of a tale of very un-neat human entanglements. ( )
  quondame | Oct 27, 2020 |
In Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay the readers are taken on a trip to Canada’s far north, with stops in Yellowknife and The Barrens. The author effortlessly captures the essence of the frontier atmosphere of this far northern land as well as the interesting people that chose to transplant themselves there.

This isn’t a fast moving, plot driven story. Instead in beautifully written prose the author takes us back to 1975 and introduces a handful of diverse characters that only have the radio station that they work at in common. By placing these characters in a variety of situations we are able to peel back the layers and see what makes them all unique individuals. They come together in different ways, but they all are nervous of exposing too much and making themselves vulnerable. Some are worried about their professional life, others are more concerned with their own personal goals but all are searching for a fresh start.

I felt that Late Nights on Air truly expressed a strong Canadian viewpoint, the author included many references to the Mackenzie Valley pipeline that was a big issue in the 1970s with natives, conversationalists and the oil business. The author herself both lived Yellowknife and worked in local radio so she knew of what she was writing about. I liked the book but was a little disappointed with the way that the author foreshadowed every plot point. Overall, an interesting but most probably not a memorable read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 1, 2020 |
This novel won the Giller Prize in 2007. Hay tells the story of the staff of a CBC radio station in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, in 1975-76. It's a motley crew, full of people who are running away from various life experiences. Dido Paris has left a broken marriage and ill-fated love affair. Gwen Symons is fascinated by radio and drives from Ontario to Yellowknife and begs for a job. Harry Boyd is getting a last chance at his radio career after flaming out in television. Eleanor isn't running away from anything explicit, but her spinster life seems to work better in a small, remote town. And there are other staff and also Yellowknife residents who play small and larger roles.

The cast and setting feel like a cross between the TV shows Northern Exposure and WKRP in Cincinnati. They're less quirky than misfit and there's a bit of an edge. Everyone falls in love with Dido, who will temporarily return the favor and then move on to someone who is clearly Not Good For Her. Gwen finds her voice in a late-night time slot, and Harry is wryly self-aware that he's probably going to screw this chance up too. And lurking in the future is a CBC TV station in Yellowknife, which will destroy the primacy of radio there as it has everywhere else.

A parallel storyline concerns the debate over a natural gas pipeline that will run from the Arctic through MacKenzie Bay down to the South. Judge Berger has been tasked with collecting testimony about its effects from First Nations and other Canadians whose lives and livelihoods will be affected. Unlike in Alaska, there has been no land claims settlement policy initiated as part of the pipeline, and many Natives are extremely concerned about the effects of a boom-town, gold-rush development on their economy and society. Not all, though; some are hoping to cash in.

The novel is leisurely to a fault, tracing the relationships and daily lives of all these actors. I knew going in that it was not a barn-burner, but at about 40% I really started to wonder what all of the storytelling was for. It's very well written and evocative of both the time and the place, but it didn't seem to have a through-line. But then the last third centers around a canoe trip four of the characters take in the far north, tracing one of the many ill-fated explorations that ended in tragedy. While I haven't canoed in the Arctic, I've traveled and camped there, and Hay does a remarkable job of depicting the terrain, the feel of being up there, and the lasting effects such journeys can have on people. The natural environment, which has been present throughout the novel, bursts into the foreground and goes from supporting to main character.

The final chapters tie up a number of loose ends in ways that are not entirely expected. Characters who disappeared come back for a final scene, and we see what happens to several of them. It's a fitting conclusion. ( )
  Sunita_p | May 17, 2019 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 64 (suivant | tout afficher)
This book will no doubt be remembered as Hay’s “Yellowknife novel” or even her “radio novel” – it follows the lives of a handful of people running a northern CBC station in the 1970s. The characters’ various hang-ups are magnified and elevated by the lonely vastness....That city crops up in many of Hay’s works, through explorations of Canadian history and through what she calls a north-south/hot-cold fixation. But this novel is the first time she explores the territory deeply, as much as she explores the medium of radio deeply. “What actually was on my mind more than Yellowknife was the whole dilemma of shyness,” she says. “For some strange reason, shy people are frequently drawn to radio as a workplace...That effort has culminated in Late Nights on Air, with its adventure, entanglements, and suspense. But the book also has plenty of emotional insight
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In memory of David Turney, 1952-1988
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Harry was in his little house on the edge of Back Bay when at half past twelve her voice came over the radio for the first time.
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Harry confessed he had no sense of direction. He told Eleanor about he infamous night in Toronto when he went to play poker at a buddy's house for the umpteenth time, but walked into another house entirely, on a different block. "I was hanging up my coat when the owner came out of the kitchen. I figured he had to be the new player. So I said, 'Where's the booze?'"
She thought how changeable and infinitely various the air is, and how she was being paid to cram it to the gills with talk, to bury it under endless information, and she couldn't do it any more.
Lying on the ground, being reshaped, was like lying awake beside a new husband
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It's 1975, and the town of Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories is in the middle of a dispute over a pipeline through the area. The small local radio station who reports on the controversy is undergoing some changes of its own. Hard-edged veteran broadcaster Harry Boyd has taken over as manager, and he has his eye on beautiful young Norwegian transplant Dido.

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Moyenne: (3.65)
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