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Heat and Light: A Novel Audiobook, by Jennifer Haigh Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jennifer Haigh Narrator: Michael Rahhal Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2016 ISBN: 9780062223098
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Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart—a bold, moving drama of 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 like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.

To drill or not to drill? Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming. He doesn’t count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother’s skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter. Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the drilling—until a passionate environmental activist disrupts their lives.

Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, Heat and Light depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources. Soaring and ambitious, it zooms from drill rig to shareholders’ meeting to the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to the ruined landscape of the “strippins,” haunting reminders of Pennsylvania’s past energy booms. This is a dispatch from a forgotten America—a work of searing moral clarity from one of the finest writers of her generation, a courageous and necessary book.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Paragraph by paragraph, the prose is full of marvelous texture and material sensation. Heat and Light is an intricate and ambitious novel, firmly grounded in history and our time. The narrator’s encyclopedic knowledge and keen insights about the physical world and social life make the novel a thrilling page turner.”

    Ha Jin, National Book Award–winning author of Waiting

  • Heat and Light achieves pure novelistic virtuosity. It’s brilliant beginning to end.”

    Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sportswriter

  • “A stunning book, a grand book, a book of old-fashioned power and scale…It takes aim at power and greed, plunder and the profit motive, the rapacity inherent in the American Dream and the complicity of its victims…This is an unsparing book, and one that sings.”

    Joshua Ferris, National Book Award finalist

  • “Haigh shows a nimble hand at writing nuanced, realistically flawed characters…The novel is not an environmental treatise masked as fiction; rather, it’s a perfectly paced rendering of the intertwined characters’ personal stories…Haigh smoothly switches between past and present, fully exposing that, indeed, the past is not even past.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • Heat and Light is a riveting panoramic tale keying…In the spirit of Don DeLillo’s Underworld and the novels of Dana Spiotta and Rachel Kushner…a greyhound of a novel; smart, sharp, hyperprecise, and near incantatory in its momentum.”

    Richard Price, author of Lush Life

  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick for May 2016

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About the Author

Jennifer Haigh is the author of the New York Times bestseller Baker Towers, winner of the 2006 L. L. Winship / PEN New England Award; Mrs. Kimble, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and finalist for the Book Sense Book of the Year; and The Condition. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, Ploughshares, Good Housekeeping, and elsewhere. She lives in the Boston area.

About the Narrator

Michael Rahhal has performed over forty audiobooks. He has worked for Deyan Audio, Blackstone, Random House, and many other self-published authors as well. He also performs and works as a creative director for the Obie Award–winning hit show Blue Man Group in all of its incarnations. He has also narrated the feature length documentary 100% Silk, performed as a motion capture creature in various films and videos, and in his spare time trains and teaches Krav Maga, a self-defense system that is made for us regular folks to learn how to punish bad guys.