by Michael Crummey


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Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Caribbean & Canada and the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award; Finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Book Award, and the Winterset Award

When a whale beaches itself on the shore of the remote coastal town of Paradise Deep, the last thing any of the townspeople expect to find inside it is a man, silent and reeking of fish, but remarkably alive. The discovery of this mysterious person, soon christened Judah, sets the town scrambling for answers as its most prominent citizens weigh in on whether he is man or beast, blessing or curse, miracle or demon. Though Judah is a shocking addition, the town of Paradise Deep is already full of unusual characters. King-me Sellers, self-appointed patriarch, has it in for an inscrutable woman known only as Devine’s Widow, with whom he has a decades-old feud. Her granddaughter, Mary Tryphena, is just a child when Judah washes ashore, but finds herself tied to him all her life in ways she never expects. Galore is the story of the saga that develops between these families, full of bitterness and love, spanning two centuries.
   With Paradise Deep, award-winning novelist Michael Crummey imagines a realm where the line between the everyday and the otherworldly is impossible to discern. Sprawling and intimate, stark and fantastical, Galore is a novel about the power of stories to shape and sustain us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780336183
Publisher: Corsair
Publication date: 03/28/2012
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Michael Crummey is a poet and storyteller, and the author of the critically acclaimed novels River Thieves and The Wreckage and the short story collection Flesh and Blood. He has been nominated for the Giller Prize, the IMPAC Dublin Award, and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Canada for Galore. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Read an Excerpt

Mary Tryphena was four years old when her sister was born. She’d been told so little about life at the time she didn’t even know her mother was pregnant. Her father walking her into the backcountry as far as Nigger Ralph’s Pond one morning, showing her how to catch spanny-tickles in the shallows with the dip net of her palms. The infant girl asleep in her mother’s arms when her grandmother came to fetch them back to the house that evening.—Who is that? Mary Tryphena asked.
—This is your sister, Eathna, her mother said.—Found her in the turnip patch, naked as a fish.
It seemed too fanciful a notion to credit but she had to admit there was something vaguely turniplike about the bruised and nearly bald head of the child, the vulgar purple and pale white of the skin.

Reading Group Guide

1. What do you think of the way Judah comes to Paradise Deep? How do you imagine he came to be inside a whale? Why does Devine's Widow choose to protect him and King-Me Sellers to suspect him?

2. Judah gets his name because the people in town cannot correctly recall the name of the Biblical Jonah, who is swallowed by a whale. King-Me Sellers, Devine's Widow, Lazarus, and many other characters are also given odd names for peculiar reasons. What is the significance of names and naming in Galore.

3. What did you think of the Mummers? What role do they play in advancing the plot? Are they harmless troublemakers or a genuine menace?

4. Many of the stories in Galore are love stories, some go well and some go badly. Discuss some of the couples in the novel, King-Me and Selina, Mr. and Mrs. Gallery, Callum and Lizzie, Mary Tryphena and Henry Devine, Dr. Newman and Bride, and how some of these pairs become triangles with the addition of a third person, Devine's Widow, Father Phelan, Judah, etc.

5. How is religion portrayed in Galore? There are many feuding sects and battles for parishioners - does any parish come out the winner? How do the people in town seem to choose between them?

6. Several of these characters experience terrible physical suffering - Mrs. Gallery, Bride, Tryphie - and all of the families battle the harsh climate and dangers of deprivation; how does the extreme nature of life in Paradise Deep impact the atmosphere of Galore?

7. What role do outsiders like Dr. Newman and Mr. Coaker play in the novel? Are outsiders able to fit in in Paradise Deep?

8. Did you suspect that Judah was the one who wrote the love letters to Mary Tryphena? How do you think their marriage would have been different if she'd known he loved her?

9. What do you think of the ending? How do you think Judah and Abel are connected? What does the whale come to stand for in the story?

10. Of the title, Michael Crummey has said "When I was writing this book I felt a sense of abundance. The source material—the folklore of Newfoundland—is so incredibly rich that I wanted to use that word. One thing I liked about 'galore' is that 'abundance' has only positive connotations, but 'galore' can be used in any situation. You could have money galore or fish galore, but you can also have trouble galore or misery galore." Discuss the significance of the title. Do you think it fits the book?

Customer Reviews

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Galore 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
racheldevenishford More than 1 year ago
I started reading Galore and I was carried off my own feet in my small apartment in Nepal, carried to a cold and difficult island off the east coast of Canada. Carried so effectively that it didn't matter whether or not I previously thought of Newfoundland as such a barren, unwelcoming place, what mattered was that I believed it. I believed that a man could be cut from a whale and smell of fish ever after, that he could pass the trait to his son, that he could be mute and white and magical. I believed that the people worked terrifically hard, that the people had superstitions sewn into them from birth, that passing through the branches of a tree could save people's lives. Galore was tough, unrelenting in character introduction and pace, epic in its portrayal of four generations, harsh in description. It was never soft, barely hopeful. But it brought me to a place I had never been before, a place where a young girl might choose to have all her teeth removed, just because they might rot one day, a place where love and food and procreation and religion are salty and difficult, harsh as the coldest sea. I could barely keep up at times, I flipped through pages looking again for character names, and at times I winced at events I found repulsive or offensive, but I never, ever lost my awe at the quality of Crummey's writing. Galore is terrific and terrifying, an incredible read.
mckait on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Newfoundland always has a bit of a magical ring to me. When I had the opportunity to readthis for the Vine program, I was intrigued. It takes place in Newfoundland,in a place calledParadise Deep. It opens with a beached whale being carved into for oil and food by the starvinginhabitants of this fishing community.As they all worked for their share, and arugued with the man who said he owned that partof beach, A woman, known as Devine's Widow, cuts into the belly of the poor whale, and outcame a man. He was an albino. He is a central character to the story, and yet, nary aword passes his lips. Despite this, a more extraordinary man is seldom found.The story leads us down through the generations of the family of Devine family. Suffice to saythat few men of the family manage to make much of a name for themselves, and certainly no oneis quite like the albino, who came to be known as Judah. The women of the family are anotherstory altogether. They are a force to be reckoned with, each and every one.Although we watch as some leave the community for other ports, including the United States. Eventually,some of the men head for Europe. We follow them through good times and bad. We find characters to loveand other that we can barely tolerate, just as we would in any town. I suspect that some of us would notagree on which was which.An ongoing theme is poverty, and want. Each generation will face it and tragedies of their own. Iwas sorry to see the story end, and would not have minded seeing it continue to the present. I feltthat as much as the story offered, I would gladly have accepted more.Recommended for anyone who likes a good yarn, a story about life on the sea, or a family saga.
dgmlrhodes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a good literary tale starting with a man being born out of a whales mouth. There were a lot of old fashioned tales/myths that tied together this novel and a lot of literary implications. This book is multi layered and well worth the read!
bremmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an odd book. This was a very odd book. This is the kind of book where you wish you knew the author so you could call him and say ¿Dude, what the ¿¿¿. There were times I really liked this book, there were times I really loved this book, and times when I wanted to chuck it across the room while cursing it.I¿m going to start with a few of the things that made me a little crazy. There was a complete lack of quotation marks. I¿m not sure what Crummey was trying to say, if anything, but it did take me a bit to get into the rhythm of not having quotes when characters spoke. Then there¿s the fact that until well into the second half of this book I had no idea when it was taking place. And if it wasn¿t for the family tree at the front of the book I don¿t know if I would have been able to keep all the characters straight and let me tell you there were a lot of characters.Now, the things I really liked and even loved about this book. It always kept me guessing. I had no idea where is was going and I loved being along for the ride. We follow the people of Paradise Deep and the Gut for more than 100 years. I love books where, really, the location is the star-the story. Oddly enough a Fannie Flagg book comes to mind when I think of this. Standing in the Rainbow is another book that while following members of the same family were see the progression of a town over time and how much things change but also how things stay the same. But clear warning this is nothing like Fannie Flagg. The language is rough and course like the people of the towns. Their lives are graphic and sometimes crude.Their actions are sometime shocking.There¿s such an odd (I use that word a lot about this book) beauty about this book. There were times I felt like I was in the middle of a foreign movie. Where I didn¿t understand exactly what was happening but I could tell what was going on. I don¿t know if that made any sense but like I said this book had me work for it. And don¿t even get me started on the ending. I¿ve changed my mind at least six times on what I think happened.I had a hard time, at times, getting through this and found myself going back a few pages to try to get a grasp of what was going on and it reminded me of something. I while back when Oprah had just started her book club she had Toni Morrison on discussing her book Paradise. And Oprah had mentioned that she had to keep going back over sections to understand what was happening and Toni Morrison said in that great voice of hers (and if you haven¿t heard her speak you should. I wonder if she does the reading on any of her audio books, oh-sorry, I digress) anyway she says ¿My dear, that¿s why the call it reading.¿I¿ve always loved that quote. You see I¿m a gal who can enjoy an easy read. Give me a cozy mystery or a fluffy romance and I can be happy as pie. But when you really get to read, get in there and work for it, well-that¿s something special. And this book was something special.Thanks to Other Press for sending me a copy of Galore
karieh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s not often that a book I read contains a quote that perfectly describes the book itself. But when I sat down to write the review for ¿Galore¿ by Michael Crummy, I realized that I could find no better way to describe the experience of reading this story than, ¿(He) felt at times he¿d been transported to a medieval world that was still half fairy tale.¿The feeling I got from ¿Galore¿ was very similar to the one I had while reading ¿One Hundred Years of Solitude¿. There are tales woven among complex family trees, most about love and loss and grief and joy ¿ the most basic of human stories ¿ but there are also magical happenings that let the reader know that the story is not truly of this world.¿Galore¿ begins with the story of a man born of a whale, and this character was the touchstone of the story for me. His tale was the one I was most interested in, and he was the character whose timeline I was best able to follow, but despite the drama of his arrival in the town of Paradise Deep, the story of his life seems at times as pale and mute as he.I had a very difficult time trying to keep the characters and family trees straight, which led to the nearly month long period of time it took me to read it. No other character was as fascinating or distinctive as Judah, the mysterious man cut from the belly of a whale. At times I started to connect again to this town seemingly rooted in the long ago past, to its people so unlike those in the rest of the world. When they connected to one another, the story was at its strongest.¿They each found a salve for their separate losses in the other and as the months passed it looked as if they might escape their individual nightmares together.¿But the story seemed to shift to a different family or different time almost within the same paragraph, and I lost the connection again. The Devines, the Sellers, children, grandchildren, and cousins¿all started to blur for me and the thread of the tale was gone again.The story ends as it began, with the man who came to the town not through the usual manner of birth, and it again reinforces his mystery, though never explains it.¿He smiled as her useless little ploy, shaking his white head. His life was like something important he¿d meant to tell someone and he couldn¿t recall now what he intended to say or to whom.¿It was that story I was hoping to hear.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Michael Crummey¿s fantastical family saga begins in the latter part of the 18th century, around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, in the fictional town of Paradise Deep, Newfoundland. A whale beaches itself and the townspeople are shocked to discover a man in its belly who they christen Judah. Judah¿s skin is pale, and he emits a strong odor of fish ¿ a smell that never goes away. Mute and odd, Judah is viewed alternately as a curse and a good luck charm. It is Judah¿s story which weaves through the novel, connecting two families and symbolizing the importance of family lore and history.Galore is, at its heart, a tale of family connections and the power of storytelling. The two families in the book (the Devines and the Sellers) descend from Devine¿s Widow, an elderly woman whose powers suggest witchcraft to many, and King-Me Sellers, a gruff business man who has never forgiven the Widow for her rejection of him.Crummey takes his readers along a crooked and convoluted journey over the course of more than 100 years, introducing a multitude of unique and quirky characters. A helpful family tree is provided at the beginning of the novel which keeps all the connections straight ¿ but, it is the folklore and rumor, and the personalities of the characters which drive the narrative. There is a feeling of other-worldliness to the novel ¿ a sense that life is circular, that history repeats itself, that family stories go on and on, replaying themselves, and becoming more fantastical, that they are part of who we are and who we become.Crummey¿s skill at character development is evident from the beginning. Despite their oddness, his characters are believable, intriguing, and very real. So many of these characters were memorable. Two of my favorites were the Trim brothers ¿ Obediah and Azariah ¿ who are the keepers of the history of all the families of the town. They know all the connections, and can recite all the stories ¿ their knowledge of the townpeople¿s genealogy ¿biblical in its detail.¿They were practical and serious and outlandishly foreign. They described the deathly ill as wonderful sick. Anything brittle or fragile or tender was nish, anything out of plumb or uneven was asquish. They called the Adam¿s apple a kinkorn, referred to the Devil as Horn Man. They¿d once shown the doctor a scarred vellum copy of the Bible that Jabez Trim had cut from a cod¿s stomach nearly a century past, a relic so singular and strange that Newman asked to see it whenever he visited, leafing through the pages with a kind of secular awe. He felt at times he¿d been transported to a medieval world that was still half fairy tale. ¿ from Galore, page 156 -Galore is sprawling, rich, and delightful. It is not surprising that it has been short listed for several literary awards and has won both the Commonwealth Writers¿ Prize for Best Book (Canada and the Caribbean) and the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Fiction. I loved this book for its tall tales, its surprising twists, and the characters which people its pages. Crummey understands the value of a good story and the lore and fantasy which are at the heart of family histories.Readers who want to lose themselves in a book, and who wish to immerse themselves in a family saga rich in folklore, will be well served by picking up a copy of Galore.Highly recommended.
rglossne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best novels I've read in a very long time. My family comes from Newfoundland, and in the stories and myths, I could hear their voices. The book tells the story of four generations of two families in the same fishing village. Their lives and fortunes are intertwined in ways even they do not fully understand. Unforgettable characters, fantastic events, social history, legends. Loved it.
ChristaJLS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't know if you've ever read Alistair Macleod but he's this really great Canadian writer who is amazing at describing the settings of his books. Since most of his books take place on the Canadian east coast this means he's really good at making you feel damp and cold. Michael Crummey, another native of the Canadian east coast (Newfoundland to be exact) can now be said to share that gift.Galore takes place is a small fishing village on the east coast and chronicles the lives of the Devine family. The novel spans across generations, beginning with the arrival of a beached whale on the shores of Paradise Deep. Upon further examination of the whale, a man is found in his stomach. Much to everyone's amazement this man is still alive but unable to speak. He is named Judah and taken in by the Devine family. Following children and grand children, you watch as this family survives against an incredibly harsh climate, decades long disputes, political changes and a war.This book was brilliant! Like I mentioned earlier Crummey does an amazing job at setting the scene. Newfoundland (weather-wise) is not the ideal place to be. It rains, a lot, and winters are harsh and difficult ¿ especially if you're a remote fishing village. Crummey makes you feel like you're facing this atmosphere head on with the characters and he does so in a way that you don't even notice it. It's mixed right in with the dialogue and action. I don't mean to suggest that you're going to be shivering while you read this but you are definitely going to empathize with these towns-people.As for the characters, there are certainly a lot of them. I think all in all the book spans 4-5 generations of the Devine family and you get to know each generation quite intimately. Though many of their problems are the same, each character is also unique. I felt like I knew each one and as a result there were some I connected with and some I despised. You get swept up in all the family squabbles and long time disputes. The relationships that formed were also quite beautiful in their way. Due to the time period and place, people didn't generally come together via romantic love but many of their relationships still ended up strong and respectful. And when love was involved there was usually heartache to go with it. The heartache and other emotions just felt so real and so human. It was easy to forget you were reading a book and not just hearing about people you've known your whole life.Galore is not a light read. It's not depressing either. It's a full range of thoughts and emotions, the same way that you experience a full range of thoughts and emotions in a life. It's beautifully written and well crafted. Michael Crummey is clearly a very talented author and one I look forward to reading more of in the future.
zibilee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the small Newfoundland island town of Paradise Deep a strange occurrence has turned the town upside down. It seems a huge whale has beached itself on the shore, and due to the fishing town¿s recent hardships, the residents soon begin to divvy up the carcass for food and fuel. But when the widow Devine begins to cut through the animals stomach, she and the other onlookers are surprised to see a man tumble out. He¿s a strange man indeed, with his white hair and skin, and he seems to be mute as well. He also stinks of dead fish, and it¿s a smell destined to never go away. So begins the magical and dense saga of a town that¿s unlike any you¿ll ever experience. Love and hate, passions and feuds, birth and death, they¿re all encompassed in this winding and rich tale of a town lost in the middle of the ocean, a town that society forgot. As Crummey follows the handful of families on the island over a span of a hundred years or more, we share in their heartbreaks and sorrows, their triumphs and defeats. In this magnificent and unusual tale, the magic of Paradise Deep and its inhabitants is cleverly meted out with an eye for the fantastical, wonderful and strange.This was a hard book to summarize; not because it was confusing but because there was just so much going on that it would have been impossible to even hint at all the plot permutations and narrative twists. I found that although I tried to sit down and read this one straight through, it was almost impossible to do so because of the book¿s density and the abundance of genealogical information. This isn¿t to say that I didn¿t enjoy the book, because I did. I thought there was a great use of magical realism that didn¿t end up stretching into absurdity and that all the various components of the town¿s saga were captivating and engaging. Though it took me awhile to rip through this one, I was very pleased with both the journey and the destination.Part of what I loved about this book was Crummey¿s ability to be playful and at times crass. It was obvious that although there was a lot of gravity in this story, the author didn¿t take himself or his characters too seriously; in turn, I was rewarded with a great sense of the joviality of Paradise Deep¿s residents. There were some heartbreaking moments as well, and the balance between gravity and humor was one that was well played within this tale. The more I read, the deeper I fell into the spell of the story and the more intimately I began to understand the characters and their motivations. There was a great give and take here, a seesawing between the details of the town¿s growth and the characters¿ interplay with one another that was mingled with just a touch of the magical realism that I so enjoy.I think it¿s a feat to manage such a sprawling novel the way that Crummey did. The book wasn¿t astronomically large, but seemed to encompass so much time in a succinct and elegant way. From the moment the strange man is disgorged from the whale¿s belly, Crummey is off and running with his history of Paradise Deep and his eccentric cast of characters, who are always doing something surprising and counter-intuitive. I also really enjoyed Crummey¿s character creation because it was extremely layered for a book of this scope and size. Most of the characters were given a lot of development and substance, which is impressive considering that there were probably over two dozen characters in play. But what¿s also impressive is that Galore didn¿t feel overpopulated at all. While there were times when I had to check the family tree in the front of the book, each character managed to be singular and richly defined.When I finally got to the last page, I fully realized the magic that Crummey had managed with this book. His story went from engaging and intriguing to ephemeral and awe-inspiring. It was an ending that I had started to guess at, but the implications it created made me rethink the whole story. And when I started to look back, I saw that thos
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After all of the glowing reviews, this was a disappointing read. Mr. Crummey had a lot of folklore stories, and colloquialisms that he just had to get out of his head and onto paper. Storyteller, he is not. There are many authors who have written about the Newfoundlanders that are incredibly adept at taking you on a journey to this strange, wonderful, and brutal land and to meet its people. Mr. Crummey is not one of them.
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Stifled_Siren More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book on NPR. The author read just a few lines of the beginning of the book and described how he intertwined different folk-lore into one story. Since the sensational always seems to catch my attention I had to check it out. I bought the book and came home and I couldn't put it down. I got up and read while I ate breakfast, went to work, came home and started reading again. The characters are so well thought out, it is really as though this place does exist, and it draws you into its own realm.
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Leaves More than 1 year ago
One of the best in historical fiction I've read in a long time. It crosses several generations of the families in Paradise Deep and includes a healthy dose of legend. I stayed up far too late into the night with this one because I wanted to know what would happen next.
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