Alone in the Classroom

Elizabeth Hay. Quercus/MacLehose, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62365-104-6
At the start of this ambitious, if overwritten, saga, which stretches from the prairies of Saskatchewan circa 1929 to the upscale precincts of present-day Ottawa, Anne Flood, a writer and sometime teacher, vividly recreates a defining moment from her mother’s youth, the murder of 13-year-old Ethel Weir. Anne’s iconoclastic, idolized aunt, Connie Flood, covers the crime for the Ottawa Journal. Since Anne herself doesn’t even play a significant role until almost two-thirds of the way through, readers will struggle to care about what otherwise might be shocking life decisions. Much of the intervening narrative concerns Connie’s transformation from an 18-year-old fledgling teacher in tiny Jewel, Saskatchewan—both dazzled and disgusted by “gentleman sadist” Parley Burns, the school’s principal—into a self-possessed woman of the world. But like the bare-bones production of Tess of the d’Urbervilles that Burns stages at the school, the novel, Canadian author Hay’s fourth (after Late Nights on Air), falls well short of achieving Hardyesque tragic resonance. Agent: Bella Pomer, Bella Pomer Agency (Canada). (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 08/05/2014
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-7710-3794-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-2209-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7710-3797-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7710-3799-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7710-3798-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-85705-186-8
Open Ebook - 324 pages - 978-1-62365-105-3
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