Barometer-Rising

This is a sexier cover than you usually see for this classic of highschool CanLit. I guess it’s fair enough to call it a romance, but as a teenager, I think I impatiently skimmed over the deathless love triangle of Neil, Penny and Angus in favour of the story of the 1917 explosion of the munitions ship Mont Blanc in Halifax Harbour and the disaster and chaos that followed in its wake. The cover gives pretty short shrift to the explosion at all, really - just the suggestion of a ship in the background and some billowing smoke.

Good book.

Barometer Rising, Hugh MacLennan, 1941

He stopped at a corner to wait for a tram, and his eyes reached above the roots to the sky. Stars were visible, and a quarter moon. The sun had rolled on beyond Nova Scotia into the west. Now it was setting over Montreal and sending the shadow of the mountain deep into the valleys of Sherbrooke Street and Peel; it was turning the frozen St. Lawrence crimson and lining it with the blue shadows of the trees and buildings along its banks, while all the time the deep water poured seaward under the ice, draining off the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Now the prairies were endless plains of glittering, bluish snow over which the wind passed in a firm and continuous flux, packing the drifts down hard over the wheat seeds frozen into the alluvial earth. Now in the Rockies the peaks were gleaming obelisks in the mid-afternoon. The Railway line, that tenuous thread which bound Canada to both the great oceans and made her a nation, lay with one end in the darkness of Nova Scotia and the other in the flush of a British Columbian noon.
—  Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising