Barometer Rising

Building damaged by explosion

I have just completed reading Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising (1941).   If you are looking for a Canadian love story set in the context of World War I and the catastrophic explosion of the Mont-Blanc (a freighter carrying explosives) in the Halifax harbor on December 6, 1917, this is it.  Great reading.

Barometer Rising describes a World War I soldier who has been injured and “demobilized”.  He is blamed for tragic events in the war that were not his responsibility.  Returning to Halifax, he struggles to clear his name and he also strives to re-kindle the loves of yesteryear.  The explosion gives him a whole different focus and he is able to be concerned about others instead of only himself.  His “shell-shock” seems to fade away as he leads in the recovery from the Mont-Blanc explosion and in the process he learns who he really is and who he really loves.  In many ways he represents the many men who moved from the fisheries and mining of Cape Breton into the city life of Halifax.

What this book tells me is that in times of great crisis there is opportunity to reevaluate commitments and priorities.  Out of crises come opportunities to change oneself and to change one’s world.

Note:  “The Halifax Explosion remains the world’s largest man-made accidental explosion.”

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1 Response to Barometer Rising

  1. Melanie Kierstead says:

    Thanks Timothy. I think i just found the Christmas read for my dad! he took us to Cape Breton when I was 15. Being interested in just about very person he ever met, I think he talked with everyone in northern Nova Scotia. I’m sure he’d like the story about movements altruistic.

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