Best book of the week!
At the beginning of this novel, Moses Sweetland is an old man living in a small community on an island off the coast of Newfoundland. Although the island thrived at one time, now it is occupied by just a few families, including Sweetland’s niece Clara and her autistic boy Jesse.
All his life, Sweetland has lived on the island, which is called Sweetland after his family. Now, the Canadian government wants to buy out the remaining residents, move them off the island, and decommission it. The lighthouse where Sweetland worked for years is now a battery-driven beacon that gets serviced a couple of times a year.
At the opening of the novel, Sweetland is among only a few people who have refused to take the deal. If they don’t all take it, no one gets it, so someone has been leaving Sweetland threatening notes.
This is a powerful novel that covers most of the major events of Sweetland’s life in flashbacks. We see that events have left him very little except the life on the island, where he traps animals and catches fish, and his relationship with Clara and Jesse.
To tell much more would be to tell too much. Suffice it to say that Crummey gets us to care very much for this crusty old man and also for his community. As in Galore, which I really loved, Crummey brings back even the ghosts of the little island.