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Reading by Lightning: The Reader's Guide Edition

Reading by Lightning: The Reader's Guide Edition

For Lily Piper, life on the prairie is spare, austere, and tucked in. She is restless — not the daughter she feels her mother wants. When puberty hits, an abrupt shift in fate has Lily on her way to England to care for her aging grandmother. There, she experiences life in all its ambiguity, until she is called home to face a future she thought she had escaped. Thomas's prose is intimate, elegant and devastatingly funny; her engrossing story of Lily Piper tells us something about how we make sense of the future when the future is something we can hardly imagine.

Reading by Lightning, Joan Thomas's long-awaited first novel, took readers by storm. A year after its publication, it had won numerous awards, found a large readership, and been selected by popular vote for On the Same Page, Manitoba's one book reading experience. Goose Lane is pleased to reissue Reading by Lightning in this reader's guide edition, complete with an afterword, an interview with the author, extended biographical notes, and more.


Joan Thomas has been a regular book reviewer for the Globe and Mail for more than a decade. Her essays, stories, and articles have been published in numerous journals and magazines including Prairie Fire, Books in Canada, and the Winnipeg Free Press. She has won a National Magazine Award, co-edited Turn of the Story: Canadian Short Fiction on the Eve of the Millennium, and has served on the editorial boards of Turnstone Press and Prairie Fire Magazine. She lives in Winnipeg.

Lisa Moore was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, and was educated at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her first novel, Alligator, won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award, Caribbean and Canada Region and was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Award and the Giller Prize. Her latest novel, February, was nominated for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.

Amazon.ca First Novel Award
Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
On the Same Page, Manitoba Reads
McNally Robinson Book of the Year
Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book
"Breathtakingly good." — Nikki Gemmell

"Joan Thomas's writing is so precise, so surprising, that on any given page you might stop, only to read the words again slowly." — Kristen Den Hartog

"We experience this writing with our noses and ears and eyes and fingertips." — Lisa Moore

"A compelling story burnished by spare and powerful writing. This is a fabulous novel, full of grace and delicious discovery, haunted by the flavour of memory and the prairies in World War II." — Amazon.ca First Novel Award jury, 2009

"Lily Piper's search for home — a place where life can be at once familiar and momentous — is utterly absorbing, told with consummate grace." — Beth Powning

"In fresh, exhilarating, masterful prose, Joan Thomas's novel explores the question of belonging. The wit, the wisdom and the quality and generosity of psychological insight make Reading by Lightning the unanimous selection of the judges." — Commonwealth Writers Prize jury, 2009

408 pages
Pub date: October 14, 2011