A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them alive. Still, they muddle through the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, their fierce loyalty to each other motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested. Richly imagined and compulsively readable, prizewinning author Michael Crummey’s The Innocents is a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.
About the Author
Michael Crummey is author of the memoir Newfoundland: Journey into a Lost Nation; three books of poetry, including Arguments with Gravity, winner of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry; and the short fiction collection Flesh and Blood. His first novel, River Thieves, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and his second novel, The Wreckage, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His third novel, Galore, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His fourth novel, Sweetland, was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His most recent novel, The Innocents, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Michael Crummey lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
This remarkable book, set in historic Newfoundland, has received critical and popular acclaim for its story of two orphaned children surviving alone in an unforgiving geographic setting. It was named a People magazine Book of the Week and positively reviewed in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. The literary merit of this work has been demonstrated in numerous national Canadian honours, including being a finalist for the 2019 Giller Prize, the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards, and the 2019 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.
The book is in high demand in our library system for its readability and the compelling storytelling. Often books set in Newfoundland can be slightly “off” in terms of the representation of the place’s unique language, culture and history, despite the author’s best efforts. This is not the case with The Innocents, which captures the specifics of the Newfoundland voice and place with profound accuracy while telling a story of universal emotional appeal. Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries, Canada
The Innocents tells the devastating, thrilling story of a pair of orphans left to fend for themselves in the wilderness in 19th century Newfoundland. The novel’s strengths lie both in the vividly rendered details of daily labour and changing landscape through the seasonal cycles that mark Ada and Evered’s lives, and in the sensitive depiction of their relationship. Ottawa Public Library, Canada