Tag: Michael Crummey

Sweetland by Michael Crummey

Posted September 8, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 0 Comments

Sweetland by Michael CrummeyTitle: Sweetland (Goodreads)
Author: Michael Crummey
Published: Corsair, 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Moses Sweetland is a grumpy old retired lighthouse keeper with strong ties to his home and town. For twelve generations, Sweetland’s family have made this Newfoundland town their home; in fact the town is named Sweetland.  However now the fishing industry has dried up and the town is falling apart. The Canadian government has decided it is more cost effective to offer resettlement packages to everyone in Sweetland than try to maintain the town. There is one condition, everyone has to accept the offer for resettlement or no one will get a payout.

This novel was picked for my in-real-life book club, and it is not a book I would have picked up on my own. I started off not loving this novel; I wanted the author to explore all the secondary characters a little more. I thought they were all far more interesting and I could not see why the focus was on Moses Sweetland so much. I knew there was the exploration into the heritage but I thought that a look into a range of characters in this little town would make for a far more interesting novel.

I obviously did not understand what Michael Crummey was trying to do with Sweetland but it was not long before I was fully aboard. The book took a turn and there was something different happening within the novel that I was not expected. If I did some research into the premise of Sweetland, I would have discovered the plot but I like to go into a book not knowing. What I loved about this novel is the way it explores isolation and being haunted by memoires and the past.

I should explain that Moses Sweetland refused to leave Newfoundland and when everyone else left he was stuck in Sweetland alone. As a retired lighthouse keeper he thought he was prepared to live a life or solitude and isolation but that is nothing like living alone. Michael Crummey did a wonderful job exploring the idea of living alone and the descent into madness. Think Cast Away, except done well; sure, that movie did portray madness pretty well but Sweetland is on a whole new level.

I think the way Sweetland surprised me, really affected me more than the book itself. I really appreciated the way Michael Crummey wrote this book and really enjoyed all the themes that he explored. I need to read some more of Crummey’s novels, I think he is a bit of a hidden talent that needs more exposure. I hope all his other books are just as great as Sweetland and I plan to find out soon.