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Heat and Light: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2016
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Description

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families.

Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.

To drill or not to drill? Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming. He doesn't count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother's skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter. Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the drilling—until a passionate environmental activist disrupts their lives.

Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, Heat and Light depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources. Soaring and ambitious, it zooms from drill rig to shareholders' meeting to the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to the ruined landscape of the "strippins," haunting reminders of Pennsylvania's past energy booms. This is a dispatch from a forgotten America—a work of searing moral clarity from one of the finest writers of her generation, a courageous and necessary book.

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Street Date:
05/03/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062199089
ASIN:
B00S569ME6
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jennifer Haigh. (2016). Heat and Light: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jennifer Haigh. 2016. Heat and Light: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jennifer Haigh, Heat and Light: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jennifer Haigh. Heat and Light: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Apr 07, 2017 17:37:31
Date Updated:
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        Jennifer Haigh is the author of the short-story collection News from Heaven and six bestselling and critically acclaimed novels, including Mrs. Kimble, Faith and Heat and Light, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and NPR. Her books have won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN New England Award in Fiction, and have been translated widely. She lives in New England.

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Heat and Light
fullDescription

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families.

Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.

To drill or not to drill? Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming. He doesn't count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother's skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter. Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the drilling—until a passionate environmental activist disrupts their lives.

Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, Heat and Light depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources. Soaring and ambitious, it zooms from drill rig to shareholders' meeting to the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to the ruined landscape of the "strippins," haunting reminders of Pennsylvania's past energy booms. This is a dispatch from a forgotten America—a work of searing moral clarity from one of the finest writers of her generation, a courageous and necessary book.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Janet Maslin, New York Times
      • content:

        "Ms. Haigh is an expertly nuanced storyteller long overdue for major attention. Her work is gripping, real and totally immersive, akin to that of writers as different as Richard Price, Richard Ford and Richard Russo...With this book, she moves one big step closer to being in their league." — Janet Maslin, New York Times

        "We finally have a novel - and a novelist - whose ambitions match the scale of this subject...a tour-de-force of multiple point-of-view narration...DeLillo-esque...Haigh's achievement in this expansive, gripping novel is to delineate the ways in which we are all connected, for better and worse. — The Washington Post

        The novel is not an environmental treatise masked as fiction; rather, it's a perfectly paced rendering of the intertwined characters' personal stories. Haigh smoothly switches between past and present, fully exposing that, indeed, the past is not even past. This is a must-read... — Booklist (starred review)

        "Each page glimmers...Sweeping yet intimate, Heat and Light is an exemplar of fiction's capacity to awaken us to truth." — O, the Oprah Magazine

        "Paragraph by paragraph, the prose is full of marvelous texture and material sensation. Heat and Light is an intricate and ambitious novel, firmly grounded in history and our time. The narrator's encyclopedic knowledge and keen insights about the physical world and social life make the novel a thrilling page turner." — Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of WAITING

        "...a stunning book, a grand book, a book of old-fashioned power and scale...it takes aim at power and greed, plunder and the profit motive, the rapacity inherent in the American Dream and the complicity of its victims..This is an unsparing book, and one that sings." — Joshua Ferris, author of THEN WE CAME TO THE END

        "Heat and Light is a riveting panoramic tale keying... In the spirit of Don DeLillo's Underworld and the novels of Dana Spiotta and Rachel Kushner...a greyhound of a novel; smart, sharp, hyper precise, and near incantatory in its momentum." — Richard Price

        "Heat and Light achieves pure novelistic virtuosity. It's brilliant beginning to end." — Richard Ford

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 23, 2016
        For her excellent sixth work of fiction, Haigh (The Condition) returns to the mortally wounded mining town of Bakerton, Pa., peopled by unsettled folks whose ennui seems genetic, even in the wake of what might be a renaissance as the town begins exploiting a massive deposit of natural gas. Prison guard Rich Devlin signs over the mineral rights to his Pap's farm, hoping for a better life for himself, his wife, Shelby, and their chronically ill daughter, Olivia. Pastor Jess, the widow of Pastor Wes, counsels the hypochondriac Shelby, but begins to unravel herself as she becomes involved with Herc, a member of the Texan drilling crew whom the townspeople resent as noisy outsiders. The Devlins' neighbors, Mack and Rena, are organic dairy farmers whose customers begin to fall away as rumor spreads of contamination from the new drilling. And Gia, the waitress at Rich's dad's bar, has a drug problem that no one but Rich's brother, Darren, a recovering addict himself, can see. The author has deftly, and with few false notes, created a geography of connections among the townspeople, who are brothers, daughters, high school sweethearts, and strangers. Haigh has conjured stories of great consequence out of rural Pennsylvania, observing that "more than most places, Pennsylvania is what lies beneath." She has tapped the deep well of the human condition and relayed something profound about America at the turn of the 21st century.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2015

        Haigh follows up her New York Times best-selling Faith by returning to Bakerton, the Pennsylvania town that figured in her 2006 PEN New England Award winner, Baker Towers. The town has been fading away, but the discovery that it nestles atop the Marcellus Shale, a huge deposit of natural gas, starts arguments about fracking. With a 150,000-copy first printing, and look for Haigh at ALA Midwinter.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from April 1, 2016
        In the same way that characters from Haigh's Baker Towers (2005) dealt with Bakerton nearly becoming a ghost town after the Pennsylvania coal mines were shuttered, the characters here face similarly big changes as fracking comes to the area. Neighbors and friends find themselves at odds as Bakerton farmland is snapped up around them by unscrupulous developers, who sweet-talk their way into the rural area and lay waste to the land. As in the previous novel and the follow-up short story collection, News from Heaven (2013), Haigh shows a nimble hand at writing nuanced, realistically flawed characters. There's Gia, the party-girl barmaid; Shelby, a neurotic young mother who fears the fracking is making her daughter ill; Shelby's husband, Rich, who desperately wants the money the developers promise; Kip, the outspoken, Trump-wannabe CEO of the fracking company; and Mack and Rena, a lesbian couple who find their organic dairy farm's certification at risk from the damage to the land. The novel is not an environmental treatise masked as fiction; rather, it's a perfectly paced rendering of the intertwined characters' personal stories. Haigh smoothly switches between past and present, fully exposing that, indeed, the past is not even past. (Flashbacks set during the Three Mile Island accident are particularly engrossing.) This is a must-read for those who enjoyed the first two titles, though it stands alone perfectlyand is ripe for discussion.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families.

Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.

To drill or not to drill? Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming. He doesn't count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother's skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter. Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the...

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