A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay

I went to a booksale and I got into trouble. A whole bookbag of trouble. About $40 worth of trouble. But look at all the lovely books I added to my shelf!

I first read the first chapter of A Student of Weather in a creative writing class as part of the coursepack – the same coursepack, in fact, that included a section from Bird By Bird. It was a good class. And because the prose of this one section was so good, I found a copy of the novel and read it in one sitting because I could not put it down.

I don’t want to call it a quintessential Canadian prairie tale, but that’s sort of what it is – small-town girl resents small prairie town, escapes, and makes her fortune – with myriad sacrifices along the way. But this narrative sparks and lights up with Hay’s viciously beautiful prose – which is why it was part of the course readings for my creative writing course. I think the best books in the CanLit canon have strong, brilliant, and wickedly clever female protagonists – and this is definitely one of them.

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