Metro Reco: Late Nights on Air
Classes are done until January, and I celebrated by reading my first book in ages that wasn’t assigned reading. I’ll probably only have time for a couple of extra books this month, so it was hard to choose, but I decided to start with the Giller winner, Elizabeth Hay’s Late Nights on Air.
I chose wisely. Set in 1975, the novel centres around the employees of a small radio station in Yellowknife, including: Harry, cynical yet vulnerable disgraced TV veteran from Toronto; Dido, confident broadcaster, enigmatic and bitchy; Gwen, young and insecure, trying to find her voice; Eddy, ambitious and misogynistic. Hay’s characterization is superb, her characters alive on the page.
There is a lot going on in the novel: the behind the scenes world of radio; the political context of the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline inquiry; First Nations activism; life in the north; love relationships; relationships to nature; the formation of personal identity—there is something for everyone.
Late Nights on Air is elegiac, funny, and thoughtful; the prose is seductive, the descriptions of the landscape so evocative it practically becomes a character in the novel.
Put this one on your Christmas list.