Jennifer Haigh's Heat and Light
Haigh's latest--after News From Heaven--is also set her in fictional Western Pennsylvania coal mining town, Bakerton--but now the town is overrun by fracking. This one didn't work as well as its predecessor, for me--it's a novel, but parts read like short stories, and there is just a little too much going on. I felt like the characters were all given short shrift--there just wasn't enough to them, even with the occasional random flashback chapter. I mean, I would have read a whole book JUST about possible-trans farmer Mack and their partner. And one late reveal is pretty obvious to anyone who's ever seen The Sixth Sense (or read the internet). It's a really great and interesting look at the fracking industry, though (environmentalists don't come off too well, either), not to mention small towns, families, etc. And Haigh's descriptions, particularly of the Pennsylvania landscape and general atmosphere, really struck home for me. She's a very evocative writer. This one just didn't quite land for me. B/B+.