Cover image for Sweetland : a novel
Title:
Sweetland : a novel
Author:
Crummey, Michael, 1965-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2015.

©2014
Physical Description:
322 pages ; 25 cm
Summary:
The scarcely populated town of Sweetland rests on the shore of a remote Canadian island. Its slow decline finally reaches a head when the mainland government offers each islander a generous resettlement package--the sole stipulation being that everyone must leave. Fierce and enigmatic Moses Sweetland, whose ancestors founded the village, is the only one to refuse. As he watches his neighbors abandon the island, he recalls the town's rugged history and its eccentric cast of characters
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780871407900
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The scarcely populated town of Sweetland rests on the shore of a remote Canadian island. Its slow decline finally reaches a head when the mainland government offers each islander a generous resettlement package--the sole stipulation being that everyone must leave. Fierce and enigmatic Moses Sweetland, whose ancestors founded the village, is the only one to refuse. As he watches his neighbors abandon the island, he recalls the town's rugged history and its eccentric cast of characters. Evoking The Shipping News, Michael Crummey--one of Canada's finest novelists--conjures up the mythical, sublime world of Sweetland's past amid a stormbattered landscape haunted by local lore. As in his critically acclaimed novel Galore, Crummey masterfully weaves together past and present, creating in Sweetland a spectacular portrait of one man's battle to survive as his environment vanishes around him.Winner of Newfoundland Book AwardShort-listed for the Governor's General AwardWinner of the CBC Bookie Award for FictionFinalist for the Winterset Prize


Author Notes

Michael Crummey was born in Buchans, Newfoundland, Canada on November 18, 1965. He received a BA in English from Memorial University in 1987. He pursued graduate work at Queen's University, but dropped out of the PhD program in 1989.

In 1986, he entered and won the Gregory J. Power Poetry Contest at Memorial University. He was first published in the St. John's-based literary mag TickleAce. In 1994, he won the inaugural Bronwen Wallace Award for Poetry. His first book of poetry, Arguments with Gravity, was published in 1996 and won the Writer's Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry. His works include Hard Light, Emergency Roadside Assistance, and Flesh and Blood.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Curmudgeonly but likable Moses Sweetland is holding out against the government's offer to relocate him from the eponymous Canadian maritime island that his family once settled. His best friend is his niece's challenged son, Jesse. Together they roam, hunting and fishing the nearby lands in which they remain deeply rooted. Tragedy ensues, and Sweetland maintains his resistance intransigently, then surreptitiously, ultimately quite alone. This is a familiar story, but it is told precisely and heartwarmingly, realistically and without sentimentality. Its small cast of accompanying characters is well and wittily delineated, and Crummey's characteristic switching between past and present is done craftily. Crummey's prior novels have been well received (Galore, among others), but with this simple and profound story, he may become a newfound author for readers of Jon Hassler, Kent Haruf, and other masters of small-town fiction.--Levine, Mark Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Sweetland is both a place-a small island off Newfoundland-and a person-Moses Sweetland-and both have seen better times. The provincial government is offering resettlement money to Sweetland residents, but only if everyone agrees to leave. Moses Sweetland is 69 years old and has been disfigured by an industrial accident. When the story opens, he is the only person-aside from the man considered the island idiot-who opposes the government's proposition. He's under plenty of pressure to accept, but the island named for his ancestors, where he takes his great-nephew rabbit hunting and hands down family legends, is the only place Moses can imagine living. Crummey, whose last book, Galore, won the Commonwealth Prize, does both man and place justice: Moses is a memorably strong-willed character, whose manner of thinking and speaking are dying out. The novel also conveys the way that a sense of place is the product of relationships-among the living, with the dead, and, in Moses's case, arising from an intimate connections to land and sea. At the end of the story, Moses remains alone on the island, his supplies dwindling, beset by injury, cold, and memories-the question isn't what will happen, but how. Having nearly trapped himself in a narrative corner, Crummey writes himself out of it, concluding the book in a way that recalls Aristotle's maxim from the Poetics: the best endings find a way to be both surprising and inevitable. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Crummey (Galore) here creates a compelling and epic story of one man's quest to stay on his beloved island off the Newfoundland coast after a government buyout. Moses Sweetland refuses to leave the island his ancestors founded, it holds too many memories and he feels driven to stay for reasons he can't quite articulate. As the island's residents leave, he finds himself reminiscing on his and the town's histories. From the eclectic residents to old traditions, Sweetland finds solace in looking back on the island's past. Soon he's utterly alone, and all he has to keep him sane are his thoughts. The story alternates among the present story, Sweetland's youth, and various other memorable moments in his lifetime. Narrated beautifully by John Lee, who does an impressive job creating distinct voices for all the characters, most notably Moses Sweetland. Verdict Fans of literary fiction and rugged island life will enjoy this astonishing tale of an old man determined not to let go of the past.-Erin Cataldi, Johnson Cty. P.L., Franklin, IN © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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