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Complete summary of Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Barometer Rising. Barometer Rising By Hugh MacLennanAdapted For Radio By Rita Greer [Allen] Canada’s most famous explosion – Halifax, December 6, Hugh MacLennan’s first novel is a compelling romance set against the horrors of wartime and the catastrophic Halifax Explosion of December 6,

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This is an eloquent book about the destruction of World War I on Canadian soldiers, and the devastating Halifax explosion in Barometer Rising is an allegory of Canada’s shift away from the political and cultural influences of colonial, Imperial Britain to a decolonized independence and emergent national gising throughout the course of the First World War.

Also by Hugh Maclennan. This is one of those rare books where I feel even a tiny bit comfortable discussing themes and symbols.

December 6, has just made it years ago!

Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan

Yet, prior to the court martialbut Neil was believed to have died in artillery strike. There is also a theme of the older generations being supplanted by the new, as illustrated by the character of Alec MacKenzie and the anecdote about Angus Murray returning to his father’s farm and finding that much of the land his father had painstakingly cleared the trees from was reverting to new forest.

The ending was also not to the same standard. A Ladder to the Sky. Even though what happens in the harbour is a matter of historical record and cannot be changed this is not an alternate history novelthe dread one feels at the Imo approaching the deadly Mont Blanc is palpable, and the moment the ship goes up is sickening. The story starts a few days prior to the collision of a French munitions ship and a Norwegian ship, focusing on the wealthy Wain family, whose I knew that this book is a work of historical fiction set in Halifax inthe week surrounding the Halifax Explosion on December 6th.


When the description of a tragedy as powerful as the Halifax explosion has me rolling my eyes at how even a tragedy is overwrought, that is an awful sign.

I believe that having grown up in the Halifax area with a grandmother who had lived in Halifax during the Explosion made the book more relevant to me. Granted, the writing style is old, but it so well written that it does not matter. Accessed 31 December Horsemen of the Sands.

On the following morning, the Halifax Explosion occurs. MacLennan’s prose is precise and well crafted to tell a complicated story, with the back drop of Canadian’s worst explosion.

Barometer Rising

Penelope Wain believes that her cousin, Neil Macrae, has been killed while serving overseas under her father, Colonel Geoffrey Wain. His father was not pleased with her American background and insisted that he not marry before becoming independent.

This is quite honestly a brilliant book. Interesting glimpse into life in Halifax during WW1.

Barometer Rising by Hugh Maclennan | : Books

Article published January 01, ; last modified October 14, Barometer Rising marks a shift in MacLennan’s writing from works with international themes – which failed to find publishers – to the decidedly nationalist theme that occupies his major works. Reading this book reminded me h I have truly enjoyed reading this book. This is an amazing event in Canadian history!


The author wove the the characters together and apart very well. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. I wish we had read this in high school or university for Canadian Lit or History. Further Reading Carol L. Jan 14, Dianne Swanson rated it really liked it.

Barometer Rising has aged better than many of MacLennan’s works, but nevertheless contemporary critics and readers often find the quality and tone of his nationalism jarring: But there were almost as many wet days when Halifax was worse than any town he could remember, when the fog isolated it from the ocean and the forests until there was nothing to see but steaming pavements and the bells moaned in the distance and the stained old buildings seemed to expect the bad weather to go right on to the end of the world.

First published New York: No trivia or quizzes yet.

Open Preview See a Problem? The Cake Tree in the Ruins. I like how the “trivial” things in life were set aside with the explosion and it’s aftermath. Also threaded throughout the story is the reality of Canada’s growing national identity.