Sweetland

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Sweetland

by Michael Crummey

Doubleday Canada | August 19, 2014 | Hardcover

Sweetland is rated 4 out of 5 by 7.
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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.6 × 6.61 × 1.18 in

Published: August 19, 2014

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385663161

ISBN - 13: 9780385663168

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Overall, this book did not live up to my expectations. Storylines rambled, pacing was too slow for me, and the ending was a let down. I will say the locations, scenery and weather were very well done and made the reader feel the reality of an island off Newfoundland.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! I could not wait to get home each night to read this book! As soon as I finished it I had to order Galore...
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from superb This is an evocative and skillfully written story that examines family history, belonging, entitlement and the extent to which a person will go to claim what he believes is rightfully his. The character of Moses Sweetland is loveable, eccentric and frustrating all at once.The description of the (South Coast) of Newfoundland is beautiful and put me right there. A great book!
Date published: 2014-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a delicious read !! Like a great cup of coffee, I couldn't put this book down, had to devour it. The description is so authentically Newfoundland and tugs me back to "The Rock" with it's rough beauty, quirky humor and harsh climate. It takes grit and dogged stubbornness at times to live there, even more so to remain on a remote Island in solitaire with the possibility of dying alone. The characterization is powerful and draws us in to the mindset of a crusty yet somehow endearing "Sweetland". This book is now a treasure of mine; one I will read again. I have high hopes for this novel; it SHOULD win literary awards !! Thank You Michael Crummey; I have become a true fan.
Date published: 2014-09-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The stars don't go low enough This is a shameful piece of trash. Poorly written, vulgar. I can't say enough bd about it. Garbage?
Date published: 2014-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended I think Michael Crummey's writing is simply brilliant. His latest book, Sweetland, is newly released. Knowing I would become immersed in Crummey's storytelling, I saved it to devour on a week off. Oh, where to start? I simply don't think I have the words to do this book justice. Moses Sweetland has lived on Sweetland Island, Newfoundland for his entire sixty nine years - as did his father and many generations before that. There were a few trips off island for work, but this is home. Until the government decides that the community needs to be 'resettled'. (This is very real - both past and present) The offer is generous and all of the residents accept the package - except Moses Sweetland. But the government's offer stipulates that everyone must agree and sign before the offer goes through. The first half of the book introduces us to Moses and the other residents of the village. Crummey's residents are unique and unforgettable - from the woman who has not set foot outside her house in forty years to the barber who hasn't cut anyone's hair in almost that long and more. Moses's young nephew Jesse was particularly moving. But it was the character of Moses that grabbed me and simply wouldn't let me go. Moses's crusty exterior and brusque manner disguise his emotions and 'softer side.' His self sufficiency and work ethic reminded me so much of the hardworking older generations in my life. Taciturn men (and women) who 'just got on with it'. Crummey tells his story with bits and pieces of the past explained and explored in separate chapters. From these, we are privy to the events that have shaped Moses's life. Sweetland is divided into two parts. Crummey caught me totally unawares with the final pages of the first part - I felt like I had taken a punch to the stomach. I had to go back and reread just to make sure I had it right. This was not what I wanted to have happen! I had become totally invested and immersed in Moses's world and tangibly felt his loss and pain. Does Moses take the offer? As this is in the flyleaf, it's not a spoiler. Yes, he does. But does he leave the island? No. And that's the second half of the book. Moses and the land he loves. Alone. Crummey has described his setting so vividly. Crummey himself is Newfoundland born and bred and his voice captures the tone and timbre of a land and it's people. I felt like I was walking along with Moses as he heads up to the mash, down to his stage and up to the keep. The land and rocks, the ocean and the weather are all characters in the book as well. Much more so in the second half as Moses battles the elements, his memories and the thought that he might be going mad. As much as I loved the first half of the book, it was the second half that had me in tears. I stayed up very, very late to finish this book. My house was still, the night was still. I headed outside after turning the last page. I live in a rural area and my neighbours are a ways away. I sat and looked at the stars and I thought of Moses alone on his island. Sweetland is the kind of book that will stay with me for a long, long time. A life lived. The strength and resilience of the human spirit. Those that go about getting things done without fanfare. The battle between past and present. The land and people that make up Canada. Sweetland is such an amazing read - highly, highly recommended
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A BITTERSWEET TALE OF ISOLATION Michael Crummey brings an isolated, austere landscape and its unforgettable inhabitants to life in his latest novel Sweetland. He paints the harsh life of the East Coast with frank simplicity. Never over-the-top. Always genuine: ?The ferry sailed by the breakwater through a blear of rain. The ocean beyond in an uproar. The deckhands hunched in neon-yellow slickers as they threw down the hawsers and winched the gangplank to the government wharf.? The community of Sweetland ?a remote Newfoundland island? awaits resettlement. Most islanders embrace the opportunity to start a new life in more hospitable towns ?except for a couple old men, including stubborn Moses Sweetland. The 69-year-old man?s refusal to accept the government?s monetary offer for relocation is a hindrance to the others. Moses starts receiving threats: anonymous letters tucked in his cupboards and mutilated hares caught in his snares. Still, Sweetland?s stand becomes ?more firmly anchored as the holdouts [dwindle], as if to offset the loss in numbers with a blind certainty.? Concerned about his firm conviction are colourful characters that capture the essence of being Newfoundlanders. We meet Queenie Coffin, an elderly woman who spends her days reading romance novels and smoking by the window sill, never setting foot outside her timeworn home. The lewd Priddle brothers who boast about their escapades on the mainland, their tattooed knuckles marks of their stint in prison. A gentle blind man named Pilgrim who nudges Sweetland to make certain choices. A young autistic boy ?Jesse? who accompanies Sweetland on his trapping and fishing excursions, and who warms the old man?s heart. Most colourful of all is Sweetland. Although bullheaded and set in his ways, he?ll win you over with his sense of humour and kindness. These characters form a close-knit, unravelling community. You will feel like you are witnessing their real conversations and interactions while the harrowing story unfolds. A tragic accident forces Sweetland to cave in and accept the resettlement deal. After most people leave the island for their new homes on the mainland, Sweetland makes a bold decision. His life of welcome solitude becomes one of stark loneliness. He is not only threatened by the forces of nature, but also by the ghosts of his past. We learn the reasons behind his long-standing resistance to leave the island. The end is bittersweet yet perfect, and it will prey on your mind for a long time. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
Date published: 2014-07-26

– More About This Product –

Sweetland

by Michael Crummey

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.6 × 6.61 × 1.18 in

Published: August 19, 2014

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385663161

ISBN - 13: 9780385663168

From the Publisher

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.

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.

Editorial Reviews

National Bestseller   “While this may be a modern tale of survival in an inhospitable landscape and economy, Crummey’s secondary character sketches are a poignant tribute to resilient generations past. . . . Both humorous and downright heartbreaking.” — Atlantic Books Today “This book compacts all of Michael Crummey’s considerable versatility as a writer: his spare lyricism as a poet; his breadth of observation as a novelist; his deftness with historical fiction and magic realism; his interest in memory; his rootedness, his soaring imagination and his humour.” — The Telegram (St. John’s) “In tone, mood and atmosphere, the novel recalls Newfoundland-born David Blackwood''s ghostly etchings that depict so powerfully and so evocatively a vanishing way of life. . . . But more important, Sweetland is its own creation—one that immerses readers in a lost, lovingly remembered and attentively rendered world, recalling the unrecoverable past, a tale of myth and magic, of memory and loss.” — The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo) “Crummey’s an almost magical writer: his characters and places form up inside my head, and won’t leave. . . . The biggest letdown for me is when I’ve run out of Crummey. On top of that, the premise for Sweetland —the internal conflict of an isolated Newfoundland town where residents have to vote unanimously to collect government payments to leave—is a
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