Heat and Light

Jennifer Haigh. Ecco, $26.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-176329-8
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. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-189485-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-222309-8
Paperback - 640 pages - 978-0-06-246722-5
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-06-176349-6
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-219908-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-3290-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3247-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3248-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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