About this title:
From the author of the best-selling, Giller-nominated River Thieves comes a heartbreaking and masterful collection of short fiction.
With uncommon elegance and compassion, Michael Crummey has created a community of exiles, characters estranged from their home, from their families or, just as often, from themselves. Set largely in the small Newfoundland mining town of Black Rock, but straying as far west as Vancouver and as far east as China, these stories are subtle, stark portrayals of people alternately looking for or trying desperately to escape their place in the world.
A young boy confuses love and allegiance, then stumbles into the complexities of adulthood; a brother and sister fall in love with the same woman; a frustrated wife protests her husband’s neglect by going on strike with the miners’ union; a lover’s drug habit reunites a woman with the sister she has lost.
Anchor Books is proud to publish an expanded edition of Michael Crummey’s brilliant collection Flesh and Blood, which includes three original stories written just for this edition. Graceful, affecting, and generous of spirit, these stories are unforgettable.
Set in the mining town of Black Rock in central Newfoundland, the stories in Michael Crummey's Flesh and Blood
touch on the lives of a number of families in different time periods. It's unusual to find Newfoundland fiction that makes minimal reference to fishermen or the sea, but the air in Black Rock doesn't smell of salt so much as rock dust. "Serendipity" is a story about love and love lost, and is a fine portrait of a boy's relationship with his apparently lucky father. "Diaspora" is a touching story about Karen, a girl so depressed by the wrangling of her parents that she decides she will never love. She eventually falls for a Chinese immigrant, however, and what she learns about her parents' relationship after her mother's death teaches her all she needs to know about the possibilities of love.
Though there is plenty of love, death, longing, and heartbreak in the stories, Crummey (River Thieves) manages to avoid sentimentality through earthy humor and a sharp eye for detail and striking similes, as in this view of Cabot Tower on Signal Hill in St. John's: "The stone tower was floodlit with stark white light, as if the building was being subjected to some relentless interrogation." Above all, Crummey creates characters that are fully human. He also knows when to stop: in story after story, he finds the perfect culmination, the line that explains just enough but not too much. A fine collection. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca
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