A Novel

Book - 2009
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A family saga and love story set in the improbable medievalesque world that was rural Newfoundland. Remote and isolated, exposed to extremes of climate and fate, the people of Paradise Deep persist in a realm where the line between the everyday and the otherworldly is hard to distinguish.
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Doubleday Canada, c2009.
ISBN: 9780385663144
Characteristics: 336 pages :,geneological tables ;,25 cm.


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Dec 08, 2018

This book is even better on the second read. I attended a lecture with Micheal Crummey and once he said it was a mixture of various folk tales, the surrealism was more palatable. A wonderful tale of magic and community. I recommend!

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 17, 2014

This critically acclaimed author follows generations of two Newfoundland families in Paradise Deep who are tied together by forbidden love, revenge, and duty while separated by class, religion, and politics. Against the backdrop of a harsh coastal settlement, the folklore of the 19th century English and Irish immigrants brings hope in fantastical stories of unlikely resurrection.

IPL_Mandy Jun 14, 2014

An epic tale with one featured starlit: Newfoundland. With true Newfie "characters" and full of regional idioms, this was so much fun to read. After the opening which sees the arrival of an albino born from a whale, new characters brought new surprises. A chronicle of multiple generations who are tied inextricably to the place and one another.

Serving suggestion: jigg's dinner and boiled raisin cake

BPLNextBestAdults Jan 17, 2013

Get transported to untamed Newfoundland, peopled with a strange collection of characters. Not a book where you develop empathy for the characters but one where the narrative was a passing parade of their harsh lives and the times they endured.

There were definite interesting elements- Judah who is "born" from a whale's belly, forevermore bleached and stinking, or the priest who sleeps with the widow with the “ghost” of her husband sitting by the fire, or the webbed fingers passed down after an encounter with a mermaid.

As a generational novel, it crosses through history. There are wonderful insights into such things as the unionization of the fishing fleet, the ebb and flow of religious tolerance, long-held superstitions, and the intermingling of families. All elements of what make Newfoundland the oddity it is today.

Read-a-likes: The Shipping News- E. Annie Proulx, Graffer- Kevin Major, The Birth House- Ami McKay

samdog123 Aug 19, 2012

A whimisical view of the inhabitants of Paradise Bay, Newfoundland, dating from the late 1700's to the early 20th century. Well drawn characters and family relationships kept me turning the pages. An interesting read by an author I'd never read before.

Jul 27, 2012

A family saga occuring over two centuries. It is almost medieval in its description of outport life. Disappointing.

Dec 27, 2011

Crummey is a wonderful story-teller - his command of the language. wit and characterization draws you in from the very first page. Worth the read.

Nov 06, 2011

Hated it. Couldn’t finish it. I found it improbable and rambling.

Oct 09, 2011

Loved it! I'm withholding that .5 because I found the entrance and exit of characters a bit abrupt sometimes.

Just like the dust jacket says; "Sprawling and intimate, fantastical and true...set in a realm somewhere between the stark coastal landscape and a world of superstition and myth..." I LOVED IT. I will admit that I enjoy reading stories set in Newfoundland. To me, having never been there myself or experienced it - yet, Newfoundland has a supernatural quality where anything can and does happen and I just eat that stuff up!

The story of a small outport and the town's inhabitants over four (I think) generations. It was a family saga that was completely enjoyable and illustrates how history repeats itself - you just have to wait long enough.

The interesting characters who kick off the story include Judah, the man who arrives in town via the belly of a beached whale; Devine's Widow, the local witch; King-me Sellers, local cut-throat merchant. The story starts with these main characters, but then continues to follow their heirs down through the genealogical chart. Support and peripheral characters are very important to this saga and help weave the details of everyone's ties together. Family and family history affects the rest of your life; for better or for worse.

ReadWellNB Oct 04, 2011

Pure magic! A real page turner!

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Nineshadesofnifty Jun 29, 2011

"I don't remember being born, she said, and I won't remember dying." - Devine's Widow (p.250)

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