Galore By Michael Crummey

– I’ve already got one asshole in there, why would I want another?
Is the saucy retort of a young woman named Bride to a man who tells her how he wants to get in her dress. Such is a small sample of some of the juicy dialog and colourful rejoinders that ripple through Michael Crummy’s novel of a small fishing village in rural Newfoundland.

The story begins with the community overseeing the disposal of a dead whale, and a shocking mystery that slithers out of its belly. It tracks the generations of some 200 years of Paradise Deep. We follow its intermarried, endlessly feuding families, the Devines and the Sellers, their rivalries, secret romances and superstitions.

Remote and isolated, exposed to savage extremes of climate and fate, the people of Paradise Deep are entirely dependent on the mercy of the ocean. The villagers persist in a realm where the line between the everyday and the supernatural becomes hazy. There are elements taken from Newfoundland folklore and legends that Crummey discovered while researching his book, such as Baptism by passing a child through the branches of an ancient apple tree. We read of the ghosts of repentant murderers, world wars, dangerous seas, days of plenty and privation and bone chilling cold.

Although other provinces claim to be, Newfoundland really is its own nation. It’s far out in the Atlantic Ocean, almost halfway to England. It has its own time zone, and its own rich language of euphemisms that is a poetic gold mine and Crummey has glorified its uniqueness.

By the end the tale comes full circle – and it is a wild ride the whole way. Worth reading just for the regional folklore, superstitions, expressions and dialects.

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Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 11:23 am  Comments (3)  

Rejected by my book club…

But I can’t let that stop me: There’s been a collection of interesting and unusual books out that I’ve recently read. I ran a couple by my book club – but they seem to prefer titles that win awards like the Man Booker, Giller – or even the Oprah list… I like those too. I joined a book club to broaden my reading horizons – so I offered them a sci-fi novel, which they accepted politely, but they are hard nuts to crack…

They refused to crack over: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Released in April 2009, and a New York Times best seller, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a modern twist to Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, by injecting into the narrative a number of pop-culture elements, including hungry and violent zombies. The book was written by American author Seth Grahame-Smith and published by Quirk Books, which, after the book’s surprising success, went on to release Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, another novel based on another beloved Jane Austen classic.

According to Wiki: On October 30 2009, Quirk Books announced that the third book in its Quirk Classics series was to be a prequel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. To be published on March 30, 2010, this book will explore how Elizabeth Bennett became such a seasoned zombie hunter and deals with her early martial arts training and her unfortunate early romantic experiences before the events of the first novel. Seth Grahame-Smith will not be writing the prequel, however, as he is currently involved with Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  Steve Hockensmith will be its author.

How could a book club not be interested in this novel? A Jane Austen-style romance with warrior women, codes of honour, nijas and a zombie apocalypse.

Have you read this or any of the other books mentioned? Leave a comment and let me know.

Published in: on December 27, 2009 at 7:14 pm  Comments (1)