Finalist for the 2016 Ottawa Book Award for Fiction
From the #1 nationally bestselling, Giller Prize-winning author of Late Nights on Air and Alone in the Classroom, comes an irresistible new novel that has everything we would hope for from this celebrated author -- and more.
Starting with something as simple as a boy who wants a dog, His Whole Life takes us into a richly intimate world where everything that matters to him is at risk: family, nature, home.
At the outset ten-year-old Jim and his Canadian mother and American father are on a journey from New York City to a lake in eastern Ontario during the last hot days of August. What unfolds is a completely enveloping story that spans a few pivotal years of his youth. Moving from city to country, summer to winter, wellbeing to illness, the novel charts the deepening bond between mother and son even as the family comes apart.
Set in the mid-1990s, when Quebec is on the verge of leaving Canada, this captivating novel is an unconventional coming of age story as only Elizabeth Hay could tell it. It draws readers in with its warmth, wisdom, its vivid sense of place, its searching honesty, and nuanced portrait of the lives of one family and those closest to it. Hay explores the mystery of how members of a family can hurt each other so deeply, and remember those hurts in such detail, yet find openings that shock them with love and forgiveness. This is vintage Elizabeth Hay at the height of her powers.
ELIZABETH HAY is the author of the #1 nationally bestselling novel Alone in the Classroom, the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel Late Nights On Air, as well as three other award-winning works of fiction, A Student of Weather, Garbo Laughs, and Small Change. Formerly a radio broadcaster, she spent a number of years in Mexico and New York City before returning to Canada. She lives in Ottawa.
FINALIST 2015 – Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
"Hay creates enormous spaces with few words, and makes the reader party to the journey, listening, marvelling..." —Globe and Mail
"[She has an] evocative grace that brings to mind Annie Proulx." —Washington Post
"Hay has a delightful, deadpan wit, the kind that sneaks up on you." —New York Times
"Hay is a master of characterization. In their fallibility, their moral struggles and their conflicted desires, [her] characters ... ring utterly true." —Toronto Star
"Hay is capable of sending palpable chills down the reader's spine...." —Quill & Quire
"A master storyteller..." —Winnipeg Free Press