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2011 Catapult Notable List – #6

#6: Galore by Michael Crummey

And so the fish book section of the list begins… The full Catapult review can be seen here. For whatever reason, Michael Crummey’s weird little book about a community of Newfies and an albino dude cut out of the belly of a whale has somehow stayed completely off the radar of everyone else in the U.S. this year. Your loss, America!

I tried to come up with a good, new review for Galore‘s inclusion on this list, but I have to admit, I can’t put it better than I did earlier. So…

Galore is filled with weird little vignettes imbued with a magical spark and a folkloric vibrancy that sucks the reader into its undertow and deposits them for the duration amongst the bizarre folk who populate Paradise Deep, Newfoundland. Mummers storm your house every Christmas, the ghost of an awful husband is condemned to watch his wife with another man, a woman has all her teeth pulled out so that they never rot, unrequited loves abound across the generations. The family Devine and the family Sellers are the integral cogs in the machinations here, driving the story forward with their slights, feuds, disagreements, illicit love affairs, snubs, fistfights, and secret children. Inextricably linked together, they are Paradise Deep, in the end, whether they like it or not. The story arcs over the course of 100 years or so in this tiny town, tracing familial lineages as they intersect and merge to create a beautifully complicated family tree. Always hovering amongst the branches of that tree is the mysterious Judah, pale, mute, and possibly ageless, yet infinitely more complicated, magical, and brilliant than anyone gives him credit for. He’s the star of the show, the white whale always alluded to but never caught, as his significance manages to slip through our fingers until the last glimpse of him vanishes behind a wave in the final act.
Galore is one of those novels that manages to tell a broad-sweeping story through the eyes of a multitude of odd people – right in the Seth Marko wheelhouse. It’s weird, it’s funny, it’s filled with dozens of characters, it’s loaded with obscure history and strange Canadians. It has proven to be one of those books that has stuck in my craw for months – I can’t seem to shake it. Did I mention the albino guy found – alive – in the belly of a beached whale? Yeah.

It’s a really wonderful novel, I have to say, and it’s a tragedy that more people have not noticed it. Yet. Thus, it is a solid #6 on the 2011 Catapult Notable list.

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3 comments on “2011 Catapult Notable List – #6

  1. Corwin Ericson
    April 7, 2012

    A great novel. I loved Galore. It's an excellent companion to Heion Bru's The Old Man and His Sons–the first novel to be translated from Faroese to English. –Corwin Ericson

  2. Seth Marko
    April 9, 2012

    Hey, Corwin Ericson!! I really, really loved your book, sir. Thanks for hitting the Catapult!

    Cheers – S

  3. Seth Marko
    April 9, 2012

    And thanks for the link-love on Facebook, too.

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This entry was posted on December 24, 2011 by in Galore, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Michael Crummey, review.
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