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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.caAbout the Author:
Michael Crummey is the author of two books of poetry: Arguments with Gravity (Quarry, 1996) and Hard Light (Brick, 1998). In 1995 he won the inaugural Bronwen Wallace Award for Poetry. His first published story was runner-up in the 1994 Prism International short fiction competition. His stories have appeared in Malahat, Prism International, Prairie Fire, Quarry, Blood & Aphorisms and TickleAce. Crummey was born in Buchans, Newfoundland, growing up there and near the Quebec border in Wabush, Labrador. He now lives in Kingston, Ontario where he works for the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at Queens University.
Flesh & Blood contains thirteen linked stories set in the mining town of Black Rock, Newfoundland, where the dust clears on a people undeniably altered by what lies beneath a foreboding surface. In a perfect blend of humour, miracle and truth, Crummey portrays men and women scattered across the country who return in duty or in faith to the origin of it all-a place which has set into motion a series of betrayals, secrets and misdemeanors that continue to haunt them. They inspire not so much for their hardiness as for their persistence, for the tenacity they display in blundering through, or gracefully recovering, the joy and redemption that is surely theirs.
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Book Description Doubleday Canada, Limited, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11038565927X