GUEST BLOG – Craig Walley invites you to explore ga·lore /gəˈlôr/ Adjective – in abundance

Salvage

Salvage

While I cannot invite you to Newfoundland, I can invite you to do the next best thing — journey imaginatively with me and fellow travellers for a week (July 14-19, 2013) to Michael Crummey’s fictitious rugged outport of Paradise Deep, the setting for his epic novel Galore.

In 2011, my wife Connie  and I joined a dozen or so Classical Pursuits adventurers on a voyage to Newfoundland. Canada’s remote island outpost has had a burst of astonishing literary production in the last twenty years that has caught the attention of the world. Connie and I had already read and loved Galore,  which inspired us to sign right up for this trip.

That's Michael on the left and me in the back on the right.

That’s Michael on the left and me in the back on the right.

Our group had the great pleasure of meeting the  surprisingly youthful author at the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival in the tiny village of Eastport. Michael Crummey graciously spent over an hour with us at breakfast, talking about how Newfoundland’s unique geography and history fuel his prose and poetry. And, like all great writing, Galore’s particularity of time and place rises to the universal — with its uncommon insight into the complexities of human nature. Connie and I were also lucky enough to be interviewed with Michael on CBC Radio.

Two families are divided by wealth, status, politics, and religion, yet bound by duty, clandestine love, revenge, and the hardscrabble life on the shore of the  coastal settlement of Paradise Deep. When a whale beaches itself , the last thing any of the townspeople expect to find inside it is a man, a mute albino. Christened Judah due to a disagreement about whether it was Judas or Jonah who was swallowed by the whale in the Bible, the mute man is, by turns, the subject of fear and wonder for the community’s citizens.  Is this mysterious man or beast, blessing or curse, miracle or demon? The town searches  for answers.

If you enjoy family sagas and stories, both wondrous and historical, you will be glad you chose to spend a week immersed in this immensely satisfying book.

galore-pbk-2About me: This will be the first time I have led a group at Classical Pursuits. I appreciate Ann’s confidence in me, despite her having joined me in several groups in Toronto, Cornwall, and, of course, Newfoundland.  Coming from the U.S. (or “America” as Canadians refer to it), Connie and I had not realized the singular place Newfoundland occupies in Canada’s history and literary imagination.  For its sheer extremes, both real and fantastic, I have been amazed at the quality of the writing in this wonderful book. This discovery has made me much less provincial in my reading.  I have returned to Galore again and again, each time discovering both more layers and more questions. I hope you will join me for a week of magic and delight.

Read more about the Galore seminar and register now. You will be glad you did.

Craig Walley

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