Galore opens with a quote from Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which is appropriate since Michael Crummey’s novel bears the clear influence of Marquez’s work. Like Marquez’s seminal novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, Galore takes place in a small town over the course of several generations, focused on the members of one central family, many of whom have similar names, and certain elements of the story play with magical realism. Crummey, an accomplished poet as well as a novelist, also shares Marquez’s knack for haunting, evocative language, which paints a vivid and otherworldly portrait of his setting on the Newfoundland coast during the 19th century.
Narrator John Lee is a perfect match for Crummey’s style, his almost musical voice augmenting the already folkloric way that Crummey tells the story. Lee brings a lovely lilt to the voices of the Irish-immigrant characters, and differentiates them with subtle inflections. That’s important, because the novel introduces dozens of characters over the course of its sprawling narrative, all tied together loosely by Judah Devine, a mute albino man who’s discovered alive in the belly of a whale as the story begins. Judah serves as a sort of totem for the small fishing village where he ends up, and while his arrival is probably the most fantastical event in Crummey’s story, it presages other mystical happenings that are seamlessly interwoven with the cycle of birth, marriage, and death that forms the history of the village.
Lee wades through all of it elegantly, jumping from one character to another with ease. The way that Crummey obscures the passage of time is one of Galore’s most appealing elements, and Lee navigates those transitions smoothly, carrying the listener on a journey that had the potential to be disorienting in the hands of a less assured performer. Instead, it’s captivating and transporting, and the credit for that goes to both Crummey and Lee. Josh Bell
When a whale beaches itself on the shore of the remote coastal town of Paradise Deep, the last thing any of the townspeople expect to find inside it is a man, silent and reeking of fish but remarkably alive. The discovery of this mysterious person, soon christened Judah, sets the town scrambling for answers as its most prominent citizens weigh in on whether he is man or beast, blessing or curse, miracle or demon.
Though Judah is a shocking addition, the town of Paradise Deep is already full of unusual characters. King-me Sellers, self-appointed patriarch, has it in for an inscrutable woman known only as Devine’s Widow, with whom he has a decades-old feud. Her granddaughter, Mary Tryphena, is just a child when Judah washes ashore but finds herself tied to him all her life in ways she never expects. Galore is the story of the saga that develops between these families, full of bitterness and love, spanning two centuries.
With Paradise Deep, award-winning novelist Michael Crummey imagines a realm in which the line between the everyday and the otherworldly is impossible to discern. Sprawling and intimate, stark and fantastical, Galore is a novel about the power of stories to shape and sustain us.
Michael Crummey is a poet and storyteller, as well as the author of the critically acclaimed novels River Thieves and The Wreckage and the short-story collection Flesh and Blood. He has been nominated for the Giller Prize, the IMPAC Dublin Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and he won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Canada for Galore. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
©2009 Michael Crummey Ink (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Crummey lovingly carves out the privation and inner intricacies that mark his characters' lives with folkloric embellishments and the precision of the finest scrimshaw." (Publishers Weekly)
Galore is a spellbinding novel set in far away Newfoundland. Author Crummey uses his exotic but fiercely real homeland to create the setting for a novel which is by turns magical and real.
The Divine family takes in a stranger who slips from the belly of a beached whale. We follow the Divines and other families of the small shore village through generations, as they adapt to changes in faith and fisheries on the North Atlantic.
John Lee's narration is outstanding as always. His sonorous voice and the prose of the book were so engaging that I found myself swept away and needed to backtrack a few times to follow the story.
Galore is outstanding, but not perfect. I enjoyed the magical realism, but other readers may find it a bit too woo-woo...... 4 1/2 stars.
The first time I started to listen to this, I was doing it passively and waiting for the book to draw me in. After half an hour or so, I gave up in frustration, unable to keep up with the fast-paced character introductions. The second time I tried, I gave it my full attention, and let it take me where it would. Soon, I was hooked and loving the ride. John Lee's narration is wonderful and enhances Crummey's multi-generational tale. The book reminds me of the oral histories I heard as a child in upstate New York, rich and familiar. The characters are immigrants from Ireland, many still speaking Gaelic, and like immigrants everywhere, they carry their histories and prejudices with them. Their society is divided by status and wealth, as most are, but the individuals are well-drawn and compelling.
I didn't know much about Newfoundland, but this was a good introduction. Now I'd like to visit.
This is a long, beautiful genealogy of a Newfoundland town that is forever altered by the appearance of an albino man found in the belly of a whale is superbly narrated by John Lee. The inhabitants of this town are affected and unaffected by world events and Michael Crummey does a fantastic job of describing the insularity and deprivation of a small fishing village that is dragged into the early twentieth century.
Female, love a good mystery, Victorian English literature and love to laugh (Dickens, Austen, Trollepe, Wodehouse, Gaskell, Elliot
Very poor writing (crummy) and the narration, in my view, ruined the listening experience. I felt the story lacked any sense of refinement and the crudeness unnecessary, no sense of feeling developed for any of the characters. I couldn't finish it.
I loved this book. It was a little hard to keep all the names straight, there are multiple generations of families. (My memory for names is not good anyway.) But it was beautifully written, very interesting to read. I actually wish I had read it instead of listening, partly to be able to go back and remember who was who and partly to savor the reading experience. John Lee is a great reader, too. I felt ( to my American ear) that the accents were understandable. But they were still definitely accents that take the listener to another time and place, allowing me gain insight into people living in a world very different from the one I am in.
Just couldn't get into it. Didn't hold my interest, only book I haven't finished.
A penny for your thoughts
I love "sagas" but found this very hard to follow. The jumping back and forth from one generation did not add add anything to the story and the author often repeats himself. To make it worse, the reader's monotone, sing-song style did not help. It's hard enough to tell when Lee switches between characters, as he does them all the same. Couple that with the confusing story line and this was not a winner for me. Perhaps this is one book that must be read to be appreciated. (or read by someone else)
Two hours into it and all I'm getting is the "Charlie Brown" wah wah wah wah. Can't take it anymore!
I swore after reading Angela's Ashes I would never read or listen to another Irish novel again.
How a whole culture and it's literature can be built on drunkenness and starvation is beyond me.
It is a good story with an array of interesting characters.
Well read by John Lee who has become my favorite reader.
why can't i just write a review without answering these questions?
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