Review: Late Nights on Air

2007 Giller Prize Winner - (dedicated to celebrating the best in Canadian fiction each year, and to enhancing marketing efforts in bringing these books to the attention of all Canadians.)

Let me start by confessing my affection for Canadian writers. The quality of writing is incredible and the stories are fresh and new to me. My selection process is to choose a novel that has won or been shortlisted for a literary award, and the location of the story is important. I love reading about the small towns, and living in rural Canada.

Late Nights on Air is slow paced but so well written, every word has a purpose. This is the type of book that you want to read slowly and take it all in.

The story centers on the lives of a few people working at a radio station in a small town and take a life impacting journey together. We get to know the characters so well, each flawed and with their own quirks. You will enjoy this story if you are looking to read a very well written novel with a strong story (but not edgy).

Author background: Elizabeth Hay was born in Ontario and at the age of fifteen, a year in England opened up her world and set her on the path to becoming a writer. In 1974 she went north to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. For the next ten years she worked as a CBC radio broadcaster in Yellowknife, Winnipeg, and Toronto, and eventually freelanced from Mexico. In 1986 she moved from Mexico to New York City, and in 1992, with her husband and two children, she returned to Canada, settling in Ottawa, where she has lived ever since.

Type: Fiction, 376 pages, Trade paperback

It's 1975 when beautiful Dido Paris arrives at the radio station in Yellowknife, a frontier town in the Canadian north. Her enchanting voice disarms hard-bitten broadcaster Harry Boyd and electrifies the station, setting into motion rivalries both professional and sexual. As the drama at the station unfolds, a proposed gas pipeline threatens to rip open the land, inspiring many people to find their voices for the first time. This is the moment before television conquers the north's attention, when the future of the Arctic hangs in the balance. After the snow melts, four members of the radio station take a long canoe trip into the Barrens, a mysterious landscape of lingering ice and 24-hour light. The unexpected turns lethal — is it too late for Dido and Harry? Stark, witty, and dynamically charged, this dazzling tale embodies the power of a place and of the human voice to breed love and haunt the memory.


“Exquisite… Hay creates enormous spaces with few words, and makes the reader party to the journey, listening, marveling…” – Globe and Mail

“Psychologically astute, richly rendered and deftly paced. It’s a pleasure from start to finish.” – Toronto Star