Alone in the Classroom

Publisher: Emblem Editions

Elizabeth Hay's highly acclaimed, national bestseller now in a deluxe paperback edition.
 
Hay's runaway bestseller novel crosses generations and cuts to the bone of universal truth about love and our relationship with the past. In 1930, a school principal in Saskatchewan is suspected of abusing a student. Seven years later, on the other side of the country, a girl picking wild cherries meets a violent end. These are only two of the mysteries in the life of the narrator's charismatic aunt, Connie Flood.
 
As the narrator Anne pieces together her aunt's lifelong attachment to her former student Michael Graves, and her obsession with Parley Burns, the inscrutable principal implicated in the assault of Michael's younger sister, her own story becomes connected with that of the past, and the triangle of principal, teacher, student opens out into other emotional triangles -- aunt, niece, lover; mother, daughter, granddaughter -- until a sudden, capsizing love changes Anne's life. Alone in the Classroom is Elizabeth Hay's most tense, intricate, and seductive novel yet.

READ AN EXCERPT

Other children were out picking that morning, but she passed them by in her light- blue dress and sandals. “Ethel,” they called, and she gave a quick smile and went on up the road towards the woods and fields at the top of the hill. She had an empty kettle in each hand and was alone, despite having three...
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READING GUIDE

1. Most of the main characters in Alone in the Classroom are teachers, from Connie Flood and Syd Goodwin, who are gifted teachers, to Anne Flood, who doubts her teaching skills, to Parley Burns, a magnetic but troubling presence in the classroom. They frequently ruminate about education, as when the young Connie...

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PRAISE FOR

A Globe and Mail Best Book

"Luminous. . . . Alone in the Classroom is meant to be read slowly, or even better, read twice. The story that unfolds, replete with poetry and punishment, passionate entanglements and incestuous love, is even richer and more rewarding the second time around." 
—Globe and Mail
 
"Gripping. . . . A multilayered tale, the novel is at once a love story, a murder mystery and a journey into the darkest chambers of the human heart. Transcendent prose. . . . [Hay] conveys masterfully the complex power plays of the classroom." 
Ottawa Citizen


From the Hardcover edition.