The Blue Light Project

The Blue Light Project

A Novel

Book - 2011
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From one of Canada's finest writers comes a masterful novel about the clash of art and advertising, the cultish grip of celebrity and the intense connections that can form in times of crisis.
An unidentified man storms a television studio where KiddieFame , a controversial children's talent show wherein kids who are too talented are "killed off," is being filmed. He is armed with an explosive device, and issues only a single demand: an interview with journalist Thom Pegg. It's a strange request, everyone agrees. A disgraced former investigative journalist, caught fabricating sources, Pegg is down on his luck and working for a lowly tabloid. The demand surprises everyone - Pegg most of all, and he is reluctant to play a role. But pressure from federal authorities leaves little choice, and so it is that Thom Pegg finds himself the envy of all the high-level journalists on hand as he makes his way into the darkened studio to uncover the truth.

Outside, as the hostage taking heads into its third day, enthralled and horrified onlookers watch the drama unfold through a constant stream of media speculation and rumours that race through the crowd. In the throes of this crisis two characters - one running from former glory and the other from corporate burnout - meet and instinctively connect. Eve is an Olympic gold medalist and much-loved local daughter who jogs the city's streets at night and searches for her long-lost brother, Ali, in its shadowy corners. Rabbit is a secretive street artist who is just completing a massive project involving strange installations on the rooftops of hundreds of buildings throughout the city. Both carry the scars of their pasts, and seem to be searching for a way to become whole.
It's a fearful time, when people have serious doubts about the future and about each other, yet are compelled to come together to vent their anxiety and make themselves heard. Outside the studio, chaos reigns, and Eve and Rabbit must navigate police checkpoints as they skirt the unruly masses in pursuit of the truth of what happened to Ali. Inside the studio, however, it's all about control, as Pegg listens to the hostage taker's story and begins to realize the terrible, violent truth about what he has planned.
When the crisis comes to a head, events collide and riots grip the streets. Prospects seem bleak as the tension of the hostage taking is unleashed upon the city. But when Rabbit's secret installation is finally activated, people are shocked into seeing the power beauty still has in this world, and into recognizing the real possibility of hope. The Blue Light Project is a hard-hitting and emotionally wrought commentary on the forces that attract and repel us, and the faith that enables us to continue, even in our darkest hours.

Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2011.
ISBN: 9780307399304
Characteristics: 347 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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poopster Oct 30, 2014

I am totally with truestitches on this one. An amazing, multilayered story with wonderful characters and some intriguing philosophical insights. This author also wrote Stanley Park, another beautifully crafted novel.

Jul 01, 2013

Blue Light Project was, for me, an intense, authentic, juicy read. And so smart. packed with ideas. And Taylor managed to pull off a written description of a visual art experience that felt real! So often visual art as depicted in other media comes off as lame. I'm recommending this book to everyone I know.

Oct 31, 2011

Found it a little difficult to figure out how I felt about this novel overall – I was immediately interested in most of the characters, particularly Eve, Rabbit & even Pegg, all ordinary people trying to negotiate their way in a complex, modern world and I wanted to find out how their stories would unfold. I also, found certain aspects of the story – like the description of the ‘Freesteal’ movement – “freedom of movement, stealing time & views – getting in, getting out – leaving some artwork to show that you had been there” – very interesting and modern, particularly juxtaposed against the corporate media and marketing worlds. The hostage taking incident at Meme Studios created quite a gripping thriller initially and it was particularly timely to incorporate and investigate crowd behaviour given the recent, unexpected rioting during the G20 summit and in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup play off. However, in the end, I found the whole angle of the hostage takers’ rationale a little too sinister, the clinical professionalism of the security forces and the crowds’ behaviour a little too bleak, and that it was all a little overdone, particularly when it then took the ‘Blue Light Project’ to deliver some sort of resolution to the whole incident. Having said that, I did like the idea of the Blue Light Project and, given the novel has left me with a lot to ponder, it was a very good read.

Mar 03, 2011

do not get the large print; referred by 96.3 fm

debwalker Feb 27, 2011

A story of televised terror revolving around a hostage-taking during a live broadcast of an Idol-type talent show.

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