Canadian Michael Crummey Sweetland

ISBN 13: 9780385663168

Sweetland

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9780385663168: Sweetland

From the award-winning, bestselling author of Galore comes another unforgettable novel. By turns darkly comic and heartbreakingly sad, Sweetland is a deeply suspenseful story about one man's struggles against the forces of nature and the ruins of memory.
     For twelve generations, when the fish were plentiful and when they all-but disappeared, the inhabitants of this remote island in Newfoundland have lived and died together. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, they are facing resettlement, and each has been offered a generous compensation package to leave. But the money is offered with a proviso: everyone has to go; the government won't be responsible for one crazy coot who chooses to stay alone on an island.
     That coot is Moses Sweetland. Motivated in part by a sense of history and belonging, haunted by memories of the short and lonely time he spent away from his home as a younger man, and concerned that his somewhat eccentric great-nephew will wilt on the mainland, Moses refuses to leave. But in the face of determined, sometimes violent, opposition from his family and his friends, Sweetland is eventually swayed to sign on to the government's plan. Then a tragic accident prompts him to fake his own death and stay on the deserted island. As he manages a desperately diminishing food supply, and battles against the ravages of weather, Sweetland finds himself in the company of the vibrant ghosts of the former islanders, whose porch lights still seem to turn on at night.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2015: There’s a quietness to Michael Crummey’s novel that adds to its power. Sweetland is about a man, Moses Sweetland, who lives on an island off of Newfoundland. The island itself is called Sweetland, named by Moses Sweetland’s ancestors, and it’s a dying place. In fact, the entire population has been offered a lump payment by the government to remove themselves from the island. There are only two holdouts to the deal: the village idiot and the sixty-nine year old Moses Sweetland. What’s most appealing about this subtle, entertaining, and quietly moving novel is the humanity of its characters and the genuine feel of Sweetland itself. Each character is real and truly imagined; it’s the kind of book and the kind of place where many readers will just want to linger. Communities like Sweetland, with their specific ways of talking and being, are growing less common. Crummey’s book is a testament to those places and the people who live there. --Chris Schluep

About the Author:

MICHAEL CRUMMEY is the author of a memoir, Newfoundland: Journey into a Lost Nation, three books of poetry including Arguments with Gravity, winner of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry, and a book of short stories Flesh & Blood. His first novel, River Thieves, was a finalist for the 2001 Scotiabank Giller Prize; and his second novel The Wreckage was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His third novel, Galore, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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Crummey, Michael
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