Heat and Light

Heat and Light

Book - 2016
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Bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town and the conflicting forces at its heart - hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families. Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas. Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, this novel depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016
ISBN: 9780061763298
Branch Call Number: FIC Haig
Characteristics: 430 pages ; 24 cm


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Oct 20, 2019

Alison read, about fracking

Nov 14, 2016

A story about gas fracking in Pennsylvania, has potential but had too many separate stories going in it to allow me to be personally involved in the story. I found none of the characters likable.

Jul 29, 2016

Another excellent novel written by Jennifer Haigh!

Michael Colford Jul 04, 2016

With Heat and Light, Jennifer Haigh's ambitious novel about a town experiencing its controversial second shot at life, the Bakerton trilogy comes to a close. After years of prosperity as a mining town, Bakerton, PA falls into the quintessentially American depression that comes with progress. Then unexpectedly, fracking comes to Pennsylvania, a process by which oil and natural gas is obtained.

There's nothing simple or black & white about the issues Jennifer raises in Heat and Light, as people struggle to get by suddenly find themselves with an opportunity to make some money by leasing their land to the fracking companies. In addition, drill workers are brought into town to do the work, thereby stimulating the economy to some extent. Yet environmentalists and other concerned townspeople feel very different, worry about the long term effects that fracking could cause. It is here that Haigh draws parallels to the Three-Mile Island incident and the ill-defined that catastrophe had on nearby residents.

Jennifer juggles multiple points-of-view deftly, infusing her skilled prose with the thoughts and beliefs of her character, whether it be the salesperson trying to lease a resident's land, a corporate exec, a concerned environmentalist, or a lonely bar waitress. This is a dense, complicated novel that takes on issues that are hard to dismiss. Whether Bakerton has yet another renaissance in its future is unknown, but Jennifer Haigh is certainly an author on the rise.

BostonPL_LauraB May 24, 2016

To be completely honest, I wasn't all that positive what this novel was about when I was asked to read it. Naturally, I was less than enthused to begin and it was slow to start. But then, you just get wrapped up in the fantastic writing and the lives of these poor characters as they navigate the (sometimes contaminated) waters of when an oil company moves in and starts fracking in your town. This book was bleak and compelling, yet at times uplifting. I'd definitely recommend it and think it would make for good discussion. Will pick up more by Jennifer Haigh!


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