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)  
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