Fiction Mod Lit Michael Crummey River Thieves

ISBN 13: 9780385658102

River Thieves

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9780385658102: River Thieves

Told in elegant, sensual prose, this is an enthralling historical novel of great passion and suspense, driven by an extraordinary cast of characters. Set against the harsh backdrop of early nineteenth-century Newfoundland, River Thieves follows a sequence of expeditions made under the order of the British Crown to establish contact between the native Beothuk Indians and the settler communities. The fallout from the expeditions is devastating for all parties involved. The Beothuk vanish and the web of secrets guarded by the settlers for so long slowly begins to unravel. Michael Crummey is an important new voice in literary fiction. River Thieves is a lyrical, haunting novel, told with startling eloquence and sensitivity.

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Review:

2002 Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award Shortlist: In River Thieves, his first novel, poet and short-story writer Michael Crummey reaches far into Newfoundland's past to tell one of the colony's most tragic stories: the extermination of the Beothuk people. Through the lives and reminiscences of some of the colony's most prominent European residents--David Buchan, a naval explorer and idealist who attempts to bring the isolated Beothuks into productive contact with the British Empire; John Peyton Jr., the obedient son of a relentlessly patriarchal local trader; Cassie Jure, John Peyton Sr.'s literate, aloof housekeeper; and Joseph Reilly, a transported Irish thief and a genuinely decent trapper--Crummey recounts a halfhearted attempt, foiled by the colony's petty tensions, to save the Beothuks.

River Thieves is an oddly meandering novel, and this is its greatest appeal. Rather than offering a grisly, guilt-ridden adventure story that rushes from its suitably portentous beginning to its inevitably sombre end, Crummey works with a meandering sort of history, one that has to go over the same events a few times before they begin to give up their secrets, temporarily leaving his readers as disoriented as his benighted characters. The book's real heart--the Beothuks--never becomes fully articulate; the Beothuks remain buried on the shore, or encamped among the snows of Red Indian Lake. Anyone who wants this kind of story to come equipped with heroes and, perhaps, even answers, should turn to Rudy Wiebe, but Crummey's labyrinthine approach has its own distinct appeal. --Jack Illingworth

About the Author:

Michael Crummey is the author of three books of poetry: Arguments with Gravity, Hard Light, Emergency Roadside Assistance; and a collection of short stories, Flesh and Blood. He was nominated for the Giller Prize in 2001 and the Journey Prize in 1998, and is a winner of the Bronwen Wallace Award. Born in Buchans, Newfoundland, he now lives in St Johns.

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Michael Crummey
Published by Canongate Books (2001)
ISBN 10: 0385658109 ISBN 13: 9780385658102
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Michael Crummey
Published by Canongate Books (2001)
ISBN 10: 0385658109 ISBN 13: 9780385658102
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