Hardcover | August 19, 2014

byMichael Crummey

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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.

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Hardcover | August 19, 2014
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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 di...

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 Scotiaban...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.54 × 6.59 × 1.18 inPublished:August 19, 2014Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385663161

ISBN - 13:9780385663168

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Best Books of 2014

Customer Reviews of Sweetland


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Crummey provides a first class seat to isolation and despondency. This book is must read CanLit.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring Slow and boring, couldn't get used to their "language"
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Heh First half quite boring, second half is Castaway.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Make a cuppa tea when you read this one! This book took me back to my neighbour's kitchen table and listening to her stories of Newfoundland- the language and the traditions...but to get to the story- wow...scary, disturbing, funny, hopeful and heartwarming - what a wonderful read! Thank you Michael Crummey!
Date published: 2016-03-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Slow, Dark and A Waste! Epic FAIL! Torturously long winded, detail hounded bore which was ultimately pointless. We are supposed to embrace Canadiana, but with such a dark, dysfunctional, doomfilled drole as this book, it proved only a massive waste of time. So tired of the "everybody dies" model that passes for artistic license. If one is going to write tragedy and horror, then get on with it and stop hiding behind a rustic character novel!
Date published: 2015-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful i loved this book. The characters become your friends and it ends much too soon.
Date published: 2015-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review I loved this book best I've read this year! Would recommend to anyone who feels life in their bones. Enjoy.
Date published: 2015-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pleasantly surprised I was surprised when I realized that it was in his head after a certain point... Someone else actually pointed it out to me.
Date published: 2015-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantasic as always.... Micheal Crummey is fast becoming one of Canada's premiere story tellers! He's at the top pf his game with Sweetland. Compelling, engaging, so steeped in the history of rural Newfoundland. His characters are so real and stay with you long after you've turned the last page.....I can't wait for his next novel...
Date published: 2015-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous characters and a fascinating revel as the story progresses This has turned me into a Crummey fan. I love the characters. Moses is compelling. A couple characters are crude and no doubt, a pretty accurate depiction. Damn funny if you aren't a prude. There is a compelling dynamic in the relationships and backstory. The revelations come out in subtle turns. Sometimes they hit you like a sucker punch. I can't stop thinking about the story.
Date published: 2015-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sweetland So detailed in the landscape and the speech of Newfoundland. I felt like I was part of of this odd group with every page. A wonderful read!
Date published: 2015-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fully inhabited book I got this as a gift and loved it. It's a great premise for a book and I really liked Moses Sweetland. Crummey can write!
Date published: 2014-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even better than Galore (hard to do) Michael Crummey is revealing himself a national treasure. Galore was a wild Marquezian romp through two centuries of a Newfoundland outport. Sweetwater is one of the most deeply touching and, at the same time, genuinely funny tales I've read in years. A day after finishing it, I'm still choked up. It deserves every literary prize going.
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sweetland Overall, I did enjoy this book, but found it slow in a few parts. It was very informative about Newfoundland, enjoyed that. I also found it so sad, the man had a lonely life. You didn't know if you should be angry with him, or just feel sorry for him. I think it was written well, but just didn't grab me.
Date published: 2014-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sweetland Sadly lovely, as usual with M. Crummey, his descriptive style creates a place and characters so vivid, you'd think u on the set. And a story so true and yet far beyond reality, u just can't put it down. A great read and another great book by M. Crummy.
Date published: 2014-11-11
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 5 out of 5 by from Sweetland This is a haunting story of the sad reality of Nwfld. The characterization was so well done you were there with Moses. This is an unforgettable novel.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Superb! Beautifully written and engaging to the very end. Moses Sweetland an indelible character, both familiar and strange. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2014-10-13
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

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Editorial Reviews

National BestsellerA Globe and Mail Best Book of 2014Winner of the 2014 CBC Bookie Award for FictionWinner of the Newfoundland & Labrador Book Award for FictionFinalist for the 2014 Governor General’s Award for FictionNominated for the International Dublin Literary Award "Crummey's latest novel left me with a sadness I have trouble translating into words. . . . His graceful prose slowly weaves the reader into the fabric of the community. . . . [and he writes] into reality the small islands that have been left out of official accounts, omitted from commemorative maps." —The Toronto Review of Books "Unlike most novels steeped in rural nostalgia, it gets a kick out of contemporary life. . . . But the elimination of an entire community, and what it represents, is deeply felt. Through its crusty protagonist, Crummey’s shrewd, absorbing novel tells us how rich a life can be, even when experienced in the narrowest of physical confines." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review"[A] moving story." ―The New York Times Book Review"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 an intriguing one, to say the least. In his hands, it will surely rock. I look forward to a slow, delightful read." —Russell Wangersky, The Globe and Mail  "Sweetland might be Michael Crummey's best novel, even though such earlier work as River Thieves, The Wreckage and Galore has garnered both literary awards and international acclaim. The book has a singular appeal, one which will live in the minds of readers long after its story is concluded. . . . The book is a gem." —The Observer (Sarnia) "[Crummey] 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 intimate connections to land and sea." —Publishers Weekly"Once again, Michael Crummey has written one hell of a book. . . . It's an enthralling read, hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, populated by characters who seem, on first glimpse, to be wilfully eccentric, but emerge as realistic and grounded, taking what control they can of their lives. . . . Sweetland is a thing of beauty, one of the finest novels we are likely to encounter this year. It demonstrates, as the best fiction does (and as Crummey’s novels always have) that the past is always with us, and that contemporary events are history embodied and in motion." —The Vancouver Sun"For a writer who always explores the same theme—loss, both accidental and inevitable, coupled with a resilience that surprises the characters themselves—Michael Crummey never repeats himself. . . . Crummey’s finest novel yet reaches its mythic and mesmerizing heights only after the others depart, leaving Moses . . . bracing for a bitter winter both seasonal and personal." —Maclean’s "A small-town tale brimming with unconventional characters turns into a survival story of catastrophic loneliness mixed with bittersweet memories." —Chatelaine"Crummey’s novel in no way resembles a Hollywood treatment of this recognizable storyline…  It is in Crummey’s slow teasing out of Moses Sweetland’s personal history that the narrative derives its strength, depth, and humanity. It is also through this process that the novel’s protagonist – and its readers – are reminded… that ‘no man is an island,’ no matter the lengths he might take to set himself apart." —Quill & Quire"Seductive, supple and haunting. . . . Sweetland is a wistful eulogy for a dying way of life." —Toronto Star "Remarkable . . . The conflict between the old and new ways, memory and reality are ongoing themes in the novel, strengthened by Crummey's knack for seamlessly mixing past and present." —Calgary Herald "Like any very good novel, Sweetland continues to resonate just offstage, in its own dream chamber, long after first reading, calling for a second performance. This reader, for one, has gratefully accepted the invitation." —Winnipeg Free Press "Sweetland is a thing of beauty, one of the finest novels we are likely to encounter this year. It demonstrates, as the best fiction does (and as Crummey’s novels always have) that the past is always with us, and that contemporary events are history embodied and in motion." —National Post "Crummey’s novel is all of a piece, its apparent simplicity of style, like that of its protagonist and his setting, concealing a primordial power. Much of the book’s beauty lies in its finely wrought portrait of this last, exemplary islander, who—in the manner of Judah, the mute whale-born man in Galore—sustains those around him in ways so unobtrusive and gracious that detecting them can be like discovering buried treasure." —The Globe and Mail