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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Galore, published in 2009, is the first book I've read by Newfoundland's Michael Crummey. What took me so long? The saga spans two centuries of generations of settlers in the Newfoundland outport of Paradise Deep and draws on the school of magic realism. The families of Paradise Deep lead hard lives of deprivation, starvation and brutal labour tinged with superstition. The story opens with the discovery of a beached whale. When the locals begin to butcher the beast they find a foul smelling albino inside. At first thought to be dead, he is alive but mute. How he came to be in the whale's belly remains a mystery. They call him Judah.
Two families are prominent in this story: the well-to-do English Protestant Sellers and the Irish Catholic Devines.  Their stories are bound together when Devine's widow refuses King-me Sellers' proposal of marriage and King-me, feeling the sting of rejection, accuses her of being a witch who has cast a curse on his family. In the end the tale comes full circle.
 There is an abundance of characters and I found myself forgetting which son or daughter belonged to which set of parents. I read this on my ancient iPad that crashed every time I tried to flip back to the family trees at the beginning of the book. That problem aside, Crummey is a wonderful storyteller and Galore is a fabulous book. If you liked it you would also like Random Passage another great big Newfoundland historical novel by Bernice Morgan.

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