2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist
His Whole Life
McClelland & Stewart
Set on the cusp of personal and national change, His Whole Life is a resonant and penetrating novel that explores the complex evolution of love and affection through a rich array of relationships. At this story’s centre are a mother and son so richly realized their delights, pleasures, and aches become the reader’s. Elizabeth Hay deftly – in elegant and luminous prose – explores how life can betray us or bring us to the surface, and all the subtle ways that one human being can fail, or serve, another.
About the Book
At the outset, ten-year-old Jim and his Canadian mother and American father are on a car journey from New York City to a lake in eastern Ontario during the last hot days of August. What follows is an enveloping story that spans a few pivotal years of his youth and sets out competing claims on everyone’s love: for Canada over New York; for a mother over a father; a friend over a husband; one son over another. Set in the mid-1990s when Quebec was on the verge of leaving Canada, His Whole Life probes 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.
About the Author
Elizabeth Hay was previously nominated for this prize in 1997 for her collection of stories Small Change. Her other works include A Student of Weather, Garbo Laughs, and Late Nights on Air. She is a past recipient of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Ottawa Book Award, and the Marian Engel Award, which she received in 2002. Hay lives in Ottawa.