From some accidents of love and weather we never quite recover. At the worst of the Prairie dust bowl of the 1930s, a young man appears out of a blizzard and forever alters the lives of two sisters. There is the beautiful, fastidious Lucinda, and the tricky and tenacious Norma Joyce, at first a strange, self-possessed child, later a woman who learns something of self-forgiveness and of the redemptive nature of art. Their rivalry sets the stage for all that follows in a narrative spanning over thirty years, beginning in Saskatchewan and moving, in the decades following the war, to Ottawa and New York City. Disarming, vividly told, unforgettable, this is a story about the mistakes we make that never go away, about how the things we want to keep vanish and the things we want to lose return to haunt us.
From Elizabeth Hay's web site: "Elizabeth Hay was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, the daughter of a high school principal and a painter, and one of four children. When she was fifteen, a year in England opened up her world and set her on the path to becoming a writer. She attended the University of Toronto, then moved out west, and in 1974 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.
In 2007 Elizabeth Hay's third novel, Late Nights on Air, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first novel was A Student of Weather (2000), a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Ottawa Book Award, and the Pearson Canada Reader's Choice Award at The Word on the Street, and winner of the CAA MOSAID Technologies Inc. Award for Fiction and the TORGI Award. Her second novel, Garbo Laughs (2003), won the Ottawa Book Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award. Hay is also the author of Crossing the Snow Line (stories, 1989); The Only Snow in Havana (non-fiction, 1992), which was a co-winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction; Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York (non-fiction, 1993), and Small Change (stories, 1997), which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, and the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Hay received the Marian Engel Award for her body of work in 2002."