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   A Student of Weather

A Student of Weather

Author: Hay, Elizabeth Set In . . .
 North America, Canada, Ontario, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, USA, New York, New York City
Genre: Fiction
Time Frame: Late 20th Century
Published: 2000
Description: On the prairie of Dust Bowl Canada, two sisters fall down the same well, and the well is named Maurice Dove A Student of Weather is a brilliant first novel by acclaimed story-writer Elizabeth Hay. Already a best seller in Canada, it tells the story of the rivalry between two contrasting sisters and of the stranger who changes both their lives forever. Spanning thirty years, it opens in the Prairie Dust Bowl of the 1930s and, later, in the decades following the war, moves back and forth between Ottawa and New York City.

Maurice Dove is a visitor to the Saskatchewan farm of widower Ernest Hardy. The relationship he forms with Hardy's daughters-the beautiful, virtuous Lucinda and the dark, intelligent, younger Norma-Joyce-gives rise to an act of betrayal that throws into relief the deep-rooted enmity between them. Norma-Joyce's life, from the time she is eight, is fuelled by her obsessive (and unrequited) love for Maurice Dove. Later, in pursuing her life as an artist, she makes discoveries about her past that bring the story full-circle.

Hay's evocation of place is palpable, vivid; her characters at once eccentric and familiar. Norma-Joyce, once a strange, dark, self-possessed child, becomes a woman who learns something of self-forgiveness and of the redemptive power of art. Hay's writing is spare yet richly textured, dark and erotic. The physical and emotional landscapes she portrays evoke tragic and comic surprises, and teach us about the lasting imprint of first love.

"Elizabeth Hay has intelligence coming out of her fingertips -integrity, insight, and wonder in every paragraph of her writing. She's a writer's writer, yes-but she has the advantage, too, of being a reader's writer. She connects. She stirs and provokes. May A Student of Weather receive all the accolades and readers this wonderful writer deserves." -Timothy Findley, Author of Pilgrim

"What I admire most about A Student of Weather, and there is much to admire, are Elizabeth Hay's vivid, robust characters. Over and over they surprised me, and sometimes themselves, by their generosity, their meanness, their affections. I couldn't stop turning the pages of this passionate and intricate novel." -Margot Livesey, Author of The Missing World

A brilliant exploration of the universal themes of pain and betrayal and survival, rendered with such a sure, deft touch that Hay seems to be discovering new literary territory." -Quill & Quire

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