Heat and Light

Haigh, Jennifer

  9 Reviews

Bakerton has seen better days ... now that the coal mines are closed, only what remains on the surface of the land is of value. That is until Dark Elephant Energy comes swooping into town armed with contracts and promises of easy money. Rich Devlin will now be able to pursue his dream of a dairy farm, while Rena and Mack's ability to supply markets and restaurants with organic produce will likely be compromised: the fracking debate has been ignited. There are money men, drillers, activists and all, everyone looking for a cut of the action in small town Pennsylvania.

Thought-provoking and relevant, this story is well served by its multiple narrators and confident examination of the economic and environmental dilemmas of energy production and the unforeseen costs of greed and other human frailties.
This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club. View this title on the Narrative Muse website



Some loved it, some not so much, but we all learned a lot. It felt a bit disjointed...
There were mixed reviews for this book - some found the putting of 3 Mile Island and issues of fracking together in one book artificial, while others found it informative. Some felt there were extraneous characters which padded out but added nothing.
A few of our group didn't read this book - or started and didn't finish. Those of us who did read it, loved it. We loved the vivid language, clever capturing of characterisation in a short phrase or sentence, and interwoven characters and plot lines. We loved how she captured the impact of plundering the earth in smaller communities and the way those who live in these communities had to adjust. Lots to think about.
THAM 005
Although this was not a book anyone really enjoyed because of the bleak tone, it did generate good discussion. Some found the inclusion of the sideline factors such as the lesbian couple and the mother with the sick daughter were unnecessary, adding nothing to the story and making it feel a bit like a soap opera. Others felt it was disjointed as the author jumped between characters. However the discussion was lively as we considered the likelihood of this scenario happening today: communities not being fully informed of the consequences of environmental impact before accepting financial offers.
A timely novel that highlights important issues of concern to all communities. Beware the profit motive! Strong storytelling by a varied cast of characters, some confused, and some confusing to the reader.
MTMA 001
Our group was polarised between those that loved it - once they'd got 'into' it, and those who could not be bothered by the initial complexities of the story.
TAUR 043
Well-written , but there were a lot of characters and stories within the main theme. Sad story but we all know about communities where jobs are lost, and people lose hope. Dealt with Energy versus Environment well.
TAUR 009
Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Very disturbing issues with Bakerton regarding fracking, and the implications for residents' lives. Beautifully composed, and held everyone's interest.
Mixed reactions from our group. Some found the lack of cohesion hard to follow. But most enjoyed the picture of a small town in America affected by large companies.