Framing the Dialogue

Heat & Light

heat-and-lightIn the novel Heat and Light, author Jennifer Haigh takes aim at gas drillers and in general the gas industry.  That in itself is not unusual these days, but she has used the tactic of using the form of a novel.  The only real interesting part for me is that it is set in Pennsylvania and so those of us who live in the state have been deluged with information and misinformation about the industry;

“That’s no accident,’ says Trexler.  ‘That’s exactly what the industry wants.  The faster they drill, the less oversight they have to contend with.  The DEP (Pa’s environmental regulatory agency) is pathetically understaffed, and the people they have aren’t very good.  The gas companies can afford to hire the best and brightest.  Some of my most talented students have gone over to the dark side.”

In order to offer some “balance” the author does have some characters with dubious means to achieve their anti-fracking agenda, but overall this is a not well written anti-fracking book.  It would have joined my very small list of “books never finished” had it not been for the local interested and the author’s bashing of the state government agency.  I guess the author can always use the excuse that “it’s just a novel” when questioned about spreading uninformed information.  I do wonder, however, about her descriptions about the impact the actual drilling operations have on the land owners.  It paints a dire picture of that process, however, I question her honesty in that she certainly exaggerated in other areas where I had knowledge and knew she did so.

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