Michael Crummey’s Galore, one of the books featured in my Beautiful Books post, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Fiction. Hooray!
Other accolades so far include:
FINALIST 2009 – Governor General’s Literary Awards – Fiction
FINALIST 2010 – Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Choice Award
FINALIST 2010 – Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award
Here’s a description of the book in Crummey’s own words, which is more interesting than the jacket version:
I’ve spent a lot of time inviting myself into other people’s stories over the last four years. I pored through archival documents and community histories and collections of folk songs, looking for material I could adapt to the little universe I was shaping out of my own sense of Newfoundland. Among many other things I found defrocked priests with a weakness for drink and Protestant women, a witchcraft trial, peculiar baptism rituals, storms and shipwrecks and merwomen, a lunatic who claimed he was God’s nephew and the rightful heir to the English throne, a four-legged chick, mummers, merchants, livyers and bushborns, cures for toothache and rheumatism and a dozen other ills, sectarian brawls at polling stations, English evangelists and American doctors and a visionary political reformer with a dirty little secret, an alcoholic opera singer, love and murder and heartbreak and revenge. And, of course, a man swallowed by a whale.
All of these things found their way into the book, in one form or another. But it’s the ubiquitous story of the dead rising from their coffins I kept coming back to as I was writing Galore, it was the charge in the novel’s engine. So much of Newfoundland’s story seems tied up in it, the unlikely resurrection after all hope has been lost. Loss and heartbreak and grief, yes. And otherworldly resilience in the face of it. Rebirth. Wonder.
That’s from the Random House site, where you can find a description of the novel, reviews of the book, and read the rest of Crummey’s comments here.