Book Talk: The Innocents: A Novel by Michael Crummey
“A gorgeous portrait of remote Newfoundland of yesterday with a remarkable story of human resilience at its core. " ― Booklist From prizewinning author Michael Crummey comes a spellbinding story of survival in which a brother and sister confront the limits of human endurance and their own capacity for loyalty and forgiveness.
This is the story
A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family's boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them.
Muddling though the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.
The Innocents is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.
Reviews and What Readers Say
““Michael Crummey’s ravishing story is raw and intimate and will break your heart." —People Magazine “This is an extraordinary novel, emotionally precise, vivid in its portrayal of nature, and subtle in its exploration of the relationship between life and story.” —Wall Street Journal “What begins as a gripping survival tale deepens into a psychological inquiry into intimacy, conflict and what it means to be alone together in the world…[a] harshly beautiful new novel.” — USA Today “A gripping and credible page-turner about children surviving in the wilderness, but more than that: this Adam and Eve struggle to make sense of a world that’s somewhere between Eden and Hell. Michael Crummey writes like an avenging angel, never putting a word wrong.” —Emma Donoghue, author of Room
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MICHAEL CRUMMEY is an award-winning poet and storyteller. Crummey was born in Buchans, a mining town in the interior of Newfoundland. He is the bestselling author of four critically acclaimed novels, River Thieves, The Wreckage, Galore, and Sweetland, as well as five collections of poetry. His novels have won or been shortlisted for many prizes, including the Giller prize, the Governor-General's award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the IMPAC Award, and his books have sold over 225,000 copies in North America. He lives in St John's, Newfoundland.