Ms. Haigh is an expertly nuanced storyteller long overdue for major attention. Her work is gripping, real and totally immersive, akin to that of writers as different as Richard Price, Richard Ford and Richard Russo. They are part of the stellar literary lineup of her admirers. With this book, she moves one big step closer to being in their league.
Heat and Light will leave you wanting more, wishing Haigh had gone deeper into some of these stories. Still, even her short, sharp jabs can be splendidly effective cultural criticism, like the jocular segment of cable business news that describes 'investors in a panic' over the tanking of the natural-gas market.
...with the publication of Jennifer Haigh’s Heat & Light, we finally have a novel — and a novelist — whose ambitions match the scale of this subject [fracking] ... Haigh has opted for a panoramic approach, moving her narrative from a corporate shareholders’ meeting in Houston to a farmhouse where a couple argue over the sale of their drilling rights; from a small-town bar where out-of-state gas crews drink to a community meeting where an activist geologist answers questions asked by terrified landowners. It’s a tour de force of multiple point-of-view narration.