Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh (Harper Collins 2016)
This book may have the distinction of being the first novel about the impact of fracking on the lives of ordinary Americans. Fracking is a new technology for extracting natural gas from deep in the earth which has disrupted the lives of residents of Pennsylvania, New York, and the Dakotas over the past ten years. Heat and Light is set in western Pennsylvania, in a fictitious town in the region of the Marcellus Shale geological formation. Jennifer Haigh tells the story from the points of view of several people: a worker in the fracking industry, a local prison guard and his family, a fracking activist, and a couple that owns a dairy farm. The local residents are initially thrilled to be offered money by the company that wants to drill under their land for natural gas, but there turn out to be unforeseen consequences.