STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Saturday, March 12, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Sweetland by Michael Crummey is set on a small remote island off the coast of Newfoundland. Moses Sweetland has lived there all of his life, as have many generations of his family before him, in fact the island is named after the family. When the government decides to "re-settle" the community, he's having none of it. Moses is stubborn, set in his ways... you might even say "crusty." The offer is generous, but it must be unanimous, everyone must agree and sign before the offer will go through and Moses is the hold-out. Sweetland has been home for him for sixty-nine years, and despite its rugged lifestyle, he's not interested in leaving. With mounting pressure from family and friends, he does eventually sign the papers, but he won't leave. He manages to stay behind on the island he loves, alone, battling the elements, memories of the past and the desolation of a solitary life.
Crummey, also born and raised in Newfoundland, has written this story beautifully, perfectly capturing the island and its people. He has developed the character of Moses so thoroughly, I feel as if I have known him a long while. Newfoundlanders have their own way of speaking, and although some might find the expressions hard to understand, Crummey has "nailed" the vernacular. This is part of the charm of the story for me. His descriptions of the island make it easy to visualize, and the rugged land, the ocean and the weather become characters in the story as much as the people. A heartbreaking story of sadness, it is a realistic depiction of the decline of outport communities in Newfoundland, following the collapse of the commercial fishery. Time marches on and takes its toll. Sweetland is a story of past and present, of strength and determination, and of love for the land one calls "home."
Five stars from this reader.


"We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel.... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become." ~ Ursula K. LeGuin


Jennifer said...

Sounds like a good library has the book, but I will wait to borrow it until we come home from our holiday. We'll be away for five weeks and the usual loan time is only three weeks!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I know I would love this book too but I have to limit the books I read that are heartbreaking. I have to mix it up some to keep from feeling too sad. It's good to look at the past though...and learn from it. Hugs, Diane

Country Gal said...

Sounds like a good read . Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

It does sound good. I was raised in Michigan City Indiana which is located on the east side at the tip of Lake Michigan. When I was young, the State began buying land along the south west shore of the lake to reserve the lake front. There were so many houses in that area, but most sold out. Quite a few held out and were granted life estates and allowed to live on their land until death. I read a few years ago that the last person had passed. It was a good resolution to a sticky situation.

xx, Carol

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