The Wreckage is one of the most acclaimed Newfoundland novels of the past year and was shortlisted for the Newfoundland Book Awards. It richly deserves the attention it’s gotten, and more. I think of Michael Crummey first and foremost as a poet, but the problem I often have with novels by poets is that the beautiful language takes centre stage, pushing story and character to the margins. I even found this true, to some extent, in Crummey’s first novel, River Thieves (though lots of people would disagree with me). In The Wreckage, though, Crummey has written a completely compelling novel that benefits from a poet’s ease with language.
The Wreckage tells the story of Wish and Mercedes, a couple who meet as teenagers in a remote Newfoundland outport but are driven apart first by the religious prejudice of the community and then by the Second World War. The beautifully realized settings move from Fogo Island to St. John’s to a Japanese POW camp — and then back to modern-day St. John’s as these “star-crossed lovers” finally cross paths again in old age. A very satisfying read.
June 7, 2006 · 10:02 am