- By Elizabeth Hay

A Student of Weather

  • Title: A Student of Weather
  • Author: Elizabeth Hay
  • ISBN: 9781841199283
  • Page: 244
  • Format: Paperback
  • A Student of Weather From some accidents of love and weather we never quite recover At the worst of the Prairie dust bowl of the s a young man appears out of a blizzard and forever alters the lives of two sisters The

    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 forgiFrom 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.

    1 thought on “A Student of Weather

    1. When I first arrived in Leeds for my master’s program in 2005, I met a PhD student who was writing her dissertation on Canadian women writers. To my shame, at that point in time I could literally only name one. Margaret Atwood. And I hadn’t even read anything by her yet. Fortunately, since then I’ve discovered more Canadian women writers in addition to Atwood, several of whom I admire greatly: Carol Shields, Margaret Laurence, Mary Lawson and now Elizabeth Hay.This was her debut novel, sho [...]

    2. The charming Maurice Dove is a botany student sent out to Saskatchewan to study the weather. When he walks into the Hardy home in 1938, he sets off a rivalry between two very different sisters. Lucille was beautiful, golden-haired, orderly and dependable. Norma Joyce was younger, darker, and a collector with a love of nature. Her natural curiosity is stimulated by Maurice's stories. Ernest Hardy, a widower, is a competent but distant man with a clear preference for one of his daughters. Maurice [...]

    3. Rated 4.5 I've sat down to write this review so many times since I read this book almost a month ago. Yet, I couldn't the words to correctly describe my thoughts about A Student of Weather. I still can't, but I will try. This is not a fast-paced book, if that's what you like. It doesn't even have a plot as such. In fact, the first few pages were a bit of a struggle to get into. But once I got past that initial hurdle, I could fully appreciate what a stunning piece of work this is, and how sadly [...]

    4. Elizabeth Hay is both a writer's writer and a consummate reader's writer--a word-siren, language mystic, narrative shaman, and spellbinding painter of prose. In this, her first novel, she creates a ballad-like story of contrasts--truth and deception, love and rejection, light and dark, faith and betrayal.Two sisters, living with their widowed father, are a study of opposites. Seventeen-year-old Lucinda is lovely, tall, titian-haired, pliable, hard-working, dutiful, and light; nine-year-old Norma [...]

    5. “For most of our lives the days pass waywardly, without meaning, without particular happiness or unhappiness. Then, like turning over a tapestry when you have only known the back of it, there is spread the pattern.”Elizabeth Hay quotes author Jane Gardham as a lead-in to one of the sections of her brilliant and nuanced novel, A Student of Weather. It is an apt quote, because Ms. Hay is fascinated with patterns…from the most ancient to the most contemporary, from natural patterns to pattern [...]

    6. Honestly, I should be giving this book 1 star, but I'm adding another star because it's Canadian and a lot of the book takes place in an often overlooked part of the country - Saskatchewan.I just could not like any of the characters - they all irritated me and could not find any redeeming qualities in them to make all their frustrating aspects forgivable. And I just couldn't understand why Elizabeth Hay would allude to so much action yet to happen yet in the next paragraph brush over so many thi [...]

    7. This book starts slowly. As a child in the first part, Norma Joyce is so annoying, so clingy, sneaky and needy, as to be unsympathetic and I wasn't sure how much time I would invest in the book. However, as the pages rolled by, and her life took such sad turns, I began to be more invested in her. Maurice was a truly horrible person, the kind of shallow, selfish individual who seems so attractive and charismatic on the surface but has no depth, no empathy for others. His abuse of Norma Joyce's af [...]

    8. Achingly lovely. Achingly resonant. It's as if this book was written just for me.This is instantly my favorite novel.

    9. This book makes me feel as moody as the Ottawa weather in early Spring mixed with the endless rain in Vancouver. Unluckily, the sun never came throughout the book. The writing is beautiful and i don't regret reading it. However, the stereotypes strike me: with the soft conservative Scandinavian-looking sister being the beautiful one and the dark short Italian&Japanese-looking sister being the ugly sneaky one- and only makes a man want her - sexually! A feeling of a Hollywood blockbuster in t [...]

    10. Yet another re-read. Loved this the first time.Oh, I still LOVE this book! Elizabeth Hay is a great talent. "Two sisters fell down the same well, and the well was Maurice Dove." Elizabeth Hay won the Giller Prize in 2007 for her book Late Nights on Air. I have devoured all of her works and adored each of them.

    11. This book was very poetically written but very anti-climatic. By the time I finished it, I felt like I had wasted a whole bunch of time.

    12. This quote by Lydia Davis starts the novel:“But when there are two sisters, one is uglier and more clumsy than the other, one is less clever, one is more promiscuous. Even when all the better qualities unite in one sister, as most often happens, she will not be happy, because the other, like a shadow, will follow her success with green eyes.”This is a story of rivalry and of obsession. Though not really a happy story, a bit dark at times, actually, it is still a story full of hope, dreams an [...]

    13. This is like two books, first half and second half, 5-star and 1-star.The first half was phenomenal. I kept dog-earring the pages to remind myself to come back and read an amazing sentence, maybe copy it into my copy journal. The author used present tense in a way that mesmerized you. She also used foreshadowing in a way that slapped you wide awake. I loved that! I was ready to re-read the book before I'd finished it. Norma Joyce and Lucinda, I couldn't wait to see what happened to them.Then the [...]

    14. This book is totally mesmerizing. I really couldn't put it down. I was totally caught up in the lives of the two sisters Lucinda and Norma Joyce. The book begins right smack in the middle of the dustbowl 1930's on a Saskatchewan farm. This farm is where Lucinda and Norma Joyce were born, as well as Norma Joyce's twin brother Norman. Times were hard and all the country families pulled together to help everyone out. Norma Joyce's twin brother dies at the age of 2 and her mother when Norma Joyce wa [...]

    15. Saskatchewan, Canada, 1930s. The cranky father: Ernest Hardy - The Sister: Lucinda Hardy - The Stranger (who brings the rain to the dusty prairie: Maurice Dove - The Twin who died: Norman The One Called Ugly, Strange, lazy: Joyce, remaned Norma Joyce after little Norman died. Norma Joyce, comes to be the most beautiful child filled with imagination, even though everyone finds her to be ugly and unmotivated. She holds healing, learning and loving in her soul. A story of two sisters, growing up am [...]

    16. Amazing story of love and lust, proving how men can take on two personalities and also how men are affectd by war. I felt really sorry for Norma Joyce and how her life panned out, and sad that she never received the love and respect she should have received from her father and the man she loved. I was disappointed by the ending, as I hoped Norma Joyce would find happiness, but the ending was very powerful in that it evoked those feelings of remembering a childhood place, and returning, only to b [...]

    17. Opening in the sultry prairies of 1930s Saskatchewan, this novel evocatively uses meterology, or the study of the weather, as a metaphor for the turbulence in two sisters' love lives as they fight for the same man's affections. I particularly enjoyed how the author avoids the cliches of a typical love story by exploring what happens when love doesn't work out for either woman My full review can be read at my blog, the-reading-list

    18. This is my second time reading this book, as I wanted to revisit her descriptions of the light and landscape of the prairies. She has a talent for making you feel the passage of time from the perspective of the protagonist - a languid day that resonates throughout the book, or years that pass by at bewildering speed.

    19. Set in the Saskatchewan dustbowl in the 1930s, this tale of two very different sisters and the diverging paths their lives take is masterful, engrossing, full of twists and turns about the choices we make and how our lives are so easily altered. Beautifully written.

    20. I was prepared to love this book, but while there are some beautiful, insightful moments, it just wasn't enough. I had to slog through it, like waist deep snow, and the best part was tossing it in my finished stack.

    21. Abandoned. I made several attempts at this but found reading it a real chore. It probably didn't help that I found the main character intensely irritating. No rating as I didn't finish it.

    22. The NaturalistThere is fiction and there is life, and the two are different. Typical fiction is articulated by its story, whether the grand heroic moment or the slow journey to some conclusion. But natural life continues after the novelist's conclusion, and most of it—untidy, sometimes surprising, often quietly satisfying—is far from heroic. It has taken me two books to realize it, but Elizabeth Hay is a novelist of this second kind, essentially a naturalist. She is interested in what happen [...]

    23. I know it isn't possible to only read novels that I enjoy, and that it isn't fair to only review these works either so here goes. I was given this book by my SO's mother, as she and her husband downsize to move later this month. I was completely enamoured by the book cover, which featured a simple design with a black and white photograph of a young woman (shown only from the torso down) on a rock surrounded by ferns and water. Lovely! Then I delved into the text and became progressively less sen [...]

    24. I picked this up at a library sale, judging it solely by its cover. Bad me. But, wow, am I ever glad I did. In 1930’s dust-bowl Saskatchewan, eight-year-old Norma Joyce Hardy, suffering (invisibly to her family) in the throes of an early puberty, falls hopelessly in love with 23-year-old traveling scholar Maurice Dove, who has come to the prairie to study the weather, and who, frostbitten and in deep distress, knocks on the Hardy family’s door one desperately cold winter evening. The young D [...]

    25. According to my list, I haven't read a novel that was both for adults and actually structured like a novel since April, so maybe that's why this book totally blew me away. But actually, I think it's just that strong a book. Magical-seeming narrative voice shifts from omniscient to 3rd-person-limited gradually over the course of the book, no compulsion to solve or settle plotlines, just a genuine fascination with the characters and their lots in life. I'm a fan of Hay in general, but I do not lo [...]

    26. A well told, well written conflict between Id and Super Ego where no one wins exactly, but the losses result in a collection of pretty sublimations. I think it's also a parable of East and West, the powerful and elegant Central Canada represented by Maurice and the uninhibited, devious (Norma Joyce) and beautiful yet Spartan (Lucinda) Prairies.

    27. I enjoyed this book very much, especially the first section that tells of Norma Joyce's childhood in Saskatchawan. Her later travels take her first to Ottawa and then to New York City, and she finally ends up back on the prairie where it all began. It's a very gentle book and well worth reading.

    28. A Student of Weather by Elizabeth HayA wonderful written book that I will recommend to everyone. A part of it takes place in my home town, Swift Current. Sask.

    29. I am generally stingy with my five stars but this book is probably the best read I've had in quite some time. After having recently abandoned "Late Nights on Air" I was hesitant and I let this book languish on my shelf for weeks only picking it up to read a few days before it was due back at the library (yes there were a few recent late night sessions). Set in the Canadian prairies, Ontario and NYC (from the 1930's to 1972) Elizabeth Hay does a magnificent job of describing the landscape, the ar [...]

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