The scarcely populated town of Sweetland rests on the shore of a remote Canadian island. Its slow decline finally reaches a head when the mainland government offers each islander a generous resettlement package - the sole stipulation being that everyone must leave. Fierce and enigmatic Moses Sweetland, whose ancestors founded the village, is the only one to refuse. As he watches his neighbors abandon the island, he recalls the town's rugged history and its eccentric cast of characters. Evoking The Shipping News, Michael Crummey - one of Canada's finest novelists - conjures up the mythical, sublime world of Sweetland's past amid a storm-battered landscape haunted by local lore. As in his critically acclaimed novel Galore, Crummey masterfully weaves together past and present, creating in Sweetland a spectacular portrait of one man's battle to survive as his environment vanishes around him.
"Crummey lovingly carves out the privation and inner intricacies that mark his characters' lives with folkloric embellishments and the precision of the finest scrimshaw." (Publishers Weekly)
"Narrator John Lee's deep voice and rhythmic intonation are perfect for this beautiful novel.... Sweetland is a spectacular meld of story and performance." (AudioFile)
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Excellent story but...
I lived in this area for a few years and grew up close by so I recognized the language, the mindset and am familiar with the gov't's efforts to move these isolated villages to the mainland. Crummy captures all of this very well. I was transfixed by this story of one man being left behind and the slow, meaningful unraveling of his life story.
The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx, offers another view of small town Newfoundland and the very unique characters such a place produces.
I usually enjoy David Lee's narration but he was the wrong choice for this book. Why use a British narrator when there are so many very capable one's from Newfoundland? Most actors from eastern Canada can also do a great imitation of this singsong, lyrical accent.The Newfoundland accent is truly delightful and is a major character of this story. Mr. Lee doesn't even pronounce "Newfoundland" like a local and many of other things were pronounced so wrong that I had to play them over and over before it dawned on me what he was saying. Truly a missed opportunity by the producer of this audio book.
The story was engrossing but the narration was distracting.
I wish I had read this book, because I would've heard the accent correctly in my head. Listening to this version was distracting because the diction was so off.
- Chris Wells
A taste of Maritime Life
I loved the book and its authentic feel of the Maritimes. The main character was totally believable as was the story.I loved the reader's accent and dry sarcasm in his voice, just like the character would be, I think. I liked all the characters and their stories..
I didn't like the ending, although I understood why he wrote it that way.
- S. L. Cowan