You are here
Sweetland: A Novel (Paperback)
February 2015 Indie Next List
“Crummey takes readers into the heart of the insular fishing community of Chance Cove, Sweetland Island, Newfoundland. Sixty-eight-year-old Moses Sweetland's family founded the town, and he is the only holdout when the government offers the residents a generous cash settlement to relocate to the mainland, that is effective only if everyone signs on. Told in sparse, beautiful prose with generous helpings of the local dialect, Sweetland is a requiem for the intimate knowledge of place that a transient society can just barely remember.”
— Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
Winner of the CBC Bookie Award for Fiction
Winner of the Newfoundland & Labrador Book Award
Finalist for the the BMO Winterset Award
Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award
Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award
An Audie Awards Finalist
The epic tale of an endangered Newfoundland community and the struggles of one man determined to resist its extinction.
The scarcely populated town of Sweetland clings to the shore of a remote Canadian island. Its slow decline has finally reached a head, with the mainland government offering each islander a generous resettlement package— the only stipulation being that everyone must leave. Fierce and enigmatic Moses Sweetland, whose ancestors founded the island, is determined to refuse. As one by one his neighbors relent, he recalls the town’s rugged history and its eccentric cast of characters. For fans of The Shipping News, Michael Crummey’s prose conjures up the mythical, sublime world of Sweetland’s past amid a storm-battered landscape haunted by local lore. In a spare style that belies “huge emotional depth and heart” (Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You), Crummey masterfully weaves together the past and present, creating in Sweetland a spectacular portrait of one man’s battle to survive as his world vanishes around him.
About the Author
Michael Crummey is a poet and storyteller and the author of several critically acclaimed novels. His most recent book, Galore, won the Commonwealth Prize for Canada. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Absorbing...…[A]s Crummey’s elegant
prose and storytelling prowess make abundantly clear, no man is an island
— William D. Cohan - New York Times Book Review
An evocative portrait of a disappearing way of life, Sweetland is also a powerful rumination on what’s lost in letting go of the past—and the sometimes-unbearable cost of trying to hold onto it. Michael Crummey’s deceptively spare language perfectly matches the tiny island community at the novel’s center: beneath the quiet surface, there’s huge emotional depth and heart.
— Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
Beautifully capturing the wild, rugged landscape, Crummey has written a novel about love for the land one is from.
— Nicole Jones - Vanity Fair.com
The latest novel by the Canadian Michael Crummey tells a slow-burning, ultimately moving story about a man and a town, both called Sweetland.
— John Williams - New York Times
Masterful writing throughout.
— Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Moses is a memorably strong-willed character… [Sweetland] 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, Starred review
Michael Crummey's Sweetland is a beautiful prayer for a dying island and an elegy for the titular character, who is both haunted and haunting, besieged by ghosts and yet trying to stop himself from becoming one.
— Alexi Zentner, author of The Lobster Kings
Wry, touching, and filled with insights into the modern human condition, Michael Crummey’s spare and sturdy prose in Sweetland delivers a kaleidoscopic portrayal of a quirky island community forced to abandon their vanishing way of life. Ignoring government bribes and threats from his neighbors, the obstinate waterman Moses Sweetland defiantly chooses the isolation of his family home off the Newfoundland coast to become a present-day Robinson Crusoe: resourceful, irascible, wily, and wholly unforgettable.
— John Pipkin, author of Woodsburner
Impetuous and imperious, Moses Sweetland is an extraordinary, beautifully realized character, and the supporting cast—including Queenie Coffin, a chain-smoking romance-novel addict who hasn’t left her house in four decades; and the feral Priddle brothers, “Irish twins” born 10 months apart—are scarcely less so. But Sweetland, Crummey’s finest novel yet, reaches its mythic and mesmerizing heights only after the others depart, leaving Moses—a Newfoundland Robinson Crusoe who even encounters a Friday-like dog—alone on his eponymous island, bracing for a bitter winter both seasonal and personal.
Powerful…Crummey’s novel is doggedly life-affirming.
— Sunday Times (London)