Book Review: Galore by Michael Crummey

Galore by Michael Crummey is the multi generational tale of life in a Newfoundland fishing village. The story is intriguing and explores the connections between two families over a century of hard lives. The superstitions, legends and secrets of two families drive the community they live in, and the very heart of the story. There is a taste of the mystic, but the story also has mystery, drama and the brutal life of fishing in a cold climate.

Galore begins as a whale beaches itself and the town gathers at the shore to help with the slaughter. Devine’s Widow, often rumored to be a witch, does her part of the cutting. However, when she cuts into the belly of the whale, an unconscious albino man slides out. He slowly recovers, but is mute and carries the stick of fish and rot with him, which cannot be washed away. He is named Judah by the locals and is a source of mystery and debate. His entrance into the community begins to stir up the rivalry between the Devine and Seller families, which continues through the book. Readers then get to learn more about the life of Devine’s Widow and the generations of both families that follow. The six generations of these two fishing families love, hate, fight and scheme against and for each other.

I really loved Galore , even though it is not my normal genre. It took me awhile to really get into the story, but once I did, it was addictive. I found myself caring about the characters, and did not want to stop reading for fear that something dramatic would happen in the story and I would somehow miss it be being asleep rather than staring at my netbook reading the electronic galley I received through Netgalley . I will admit to actually having dreamt about the characters of the book on at least two occasions since I began reading the book. The ending, and the concern I felt for the characters while reading, was all well rewarded when I read the last page and smile.

Galore holds to no solid chronological order; changing by days, months or years in a mere paragraph and then back again. While on the surface, this might sound confusing or troublesome, in this case it added to the charm and folklore feel of the grander story. The only thing I found in the book that made me work a little harder for the read was the way dialogue was separated from thought and descriptions. Rather than the standard quotation marks indicating speech, Crummey has used dashes “-” to separate the words. This was not a major issue; I just found it distracting on a few occasions.

I recommend Galore to fans of magical realism, historical fiction and literary fiction. The story was gripping and well written. I do not suggest reading this when you are looking for something light and easy that you can put down and pick up as time allows. You want to save this book for when you can dedicate your time and mind to it fully.