The Innocents

A Novel
Narrated by: Mary Lewis
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

People Magazine Book of the Week

"Extraordinary." (Wall Street Journal)
"Gripping." (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)
"Dazzling." (Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek)
"Fantastic." (Kevin Powers, author of Yellow Birds and A Shout in the Ruins)
"Brilliant." (Ron Rash, author of Serena)

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.

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 meager 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 enjoyable, 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.

©2019 Michael Crummey (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

"Michael Crummey’s The Innocents is a dazzling and myriad achievement. Set against the unforgiving Newfoundland frontier, this harrowing tale of two siblings eking out a teetering existence is difficult to witness and impossible to put to down.  But what makes this story timeless is Crummey's rich depiction of the human heart in extremis, the unflagging beat of life in a world that is too much to bear. Set aside whatever you’re reading and pick this up - The Innocents is a masterpiece." (Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek)

"Michael Crummey’s new novel The Innocents is a fantastic read. Written in graceful and evocative prose, Ada and Evered's story blurs the boundary between the quotidian and the strange until it becomes a meditation on the curious fact of existence itself. A wonderfully provocative and insightful book." (Kevin Powers, author of Yellow Birds and A Shout in the Ruins)

"Few novels have cast their spell on me as deeply as The Innocents. I am reminded of Dickens, not just the nineteenth-century setting and the imperiled children, but the artfulness: brilliant plot, unforgettable minor characters, perfect pacing. Yet Michael Crummey’s poetic voice and landscape are his own. The Innocents is brilliant." (Ron Rash, author of Serena)

"Heartfelt, extraordinary.... Crummey delivers profound insight into how individuals grapple with the forces of nature, not only in the unpredictable environment, but in the mystifying interior of their temperaments, drives, and character. This story of how two guileless youngsters navigate life will have a deep emotional impact on its readers." (Publishers Weekly)

"A gorgeous portrait of remote Newfoundland of yesterday with a remarkable story of human resilience at its core." (Booklist)

"Page-turning.... An unusual, gripping period novel from a much-honored Canadian writer." (Kirkus starred review)

"Moving.... The relentless bleakness is alleviated by the cinematic depiction of the surrounding wilderness, with Crummey’s prose recalling that of Jim Crace in its strange, archaic terminology and sense of timelessness." (Library Journal)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Sequel?

I loved every word, until the end. WTH??? So disappointed. I hope there’s a sequel.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

One of the best books I've ever read or listened to. Mary Lewis' narration is spot on perfect, an absolute mesmerizing joy to listen too. Finished the whole thing in two days, couldn't put it down.

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Extraordinary Story

This was a wonderful, masterful, full of suspense story. Worth every minute! The narrator was excellent and her accents were so expert. I’m amazed.

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Very tender story beautifully read

Very tender story beautifully read. This is a book whose story is imaginative and in which one can savor the beautiful language.

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Nova Scotia

It is a lovely and harrowing book. The characters are compelling and unique. The reader, however is the worst I’ve ever heard. Sounds like a first time reading by a non native English speaker, but Canadian. . At least a couple of grammatical errors.
Too bad because the prose and story are beautiful. The final taboo, some say.

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Innocents survival

I'm not sure how to review this low-key but intense story of survival in the harsh isolation of 19th century Newfoundland. I was captivated by the two innocents, a brother and sister left orphaned. Their struggles to survive and to try to understand the complexity of human emotion and physicality was beautifully written. The narrator did an excellent job with accents although there were parts where it was hard to understand. This is not a page-turner in the tradional sense, but it is a compelling story.

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Amazing, beautiful, and compelling.

The reader's Newfoundland accent is authentic, and the power of people and place powerful. Crummey's novels never disappoint.