The Innocents: A Novel

The Innocents: A Novel

From prizewinning author Michael Crummey comes a spellbinding story of survival in which a brother and sister confront the limits of human endurance and their own capacity for loyalty and forgiveness. A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentles...

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Title:The Innocents: A Novel
Author:Michael Crummey
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The Innocents: A Novel Reviews

  • Marjorie

    Deep, heart wrenching tale. Most highly recommended. Complete review to be posted closer to the publication date of 11/12/2019.

  • Amy

    Northern Canada. Short summers, long cold winters. Illness and hardship leave a brother and sister orphaned in this harsh country, with only the limited knowledge passed on to them by their parents of how their lives are meant to work. Young, innocent, and fiercely determined, they rely on each other to carry on as the seasons alternately provide plenty followed by crushing scarcity, raging storms, illness, and the joy of unexpected visitors. As the siblings grow into the arduous work of simply

    Northern Canada. Short summers, long cold winters. Illness and hardship leave a brother and sister orphaned in this harsh country, with only the limited knowledge passed on to them by their parents of how their lives are meant to work. Young, innocent, and fiercely determined, they rely on each other to carry on as the seasons alternately provide plenty followed by crushing scarcity, raging storms, illness, and the joy of unexpected visitors. As the siblings grow into the arduous work of simply surviving, they begin to grow into themselves as well, their loyalty tested in ways as mysterious to them as the shadowy borders of the land they inhabit. This book is at once beautiful and heartbreaking, the writing luminous, the characters well-drawn. Their story is about survival, and family, and how what we don’t know can be either our undoing or our salvation.

  • Krista

    I love when an ARC opens with a note from the book's editor, givin

    I love when an ARC opens with a note from the book's editor, giving some insider bit of info, and

    begins with, “Years ago, in the archives, Michael Crummey found mention of a late eighteenth-century clergyman who had happened upon an adolescent brother and sister living all alone in an isolated cove off the northern coast of Newfoundland. When the clergyman approached the siblings to inquire into their circumstances, into how they were managing to survive, he was driven off the cove by the boy at gunpoint. The implications of that encounter would stay with Michael and eventually inspire

    . In March of 2018, there were 1,500 words; by July, there were 90,000. I can't help but think the intensity of the novel's creation is reflected in the thing itself.” I quote Martha Kanya-Forstner at length here because that's all a prospective reader really needs to know: From the merest suggestion of a plot situation, Michael Crummey has dreamed up two fully-formed characters, bound by blood and the desperate quest for survival for which their parents never dreamed they'd so soon need to be fully prepared, and by richly describing their daily labour, and throwing in intermittent visits from outsiders that expand the siblings' understanding of the wider world, Crummey does right by history, literature, and the exploration of humanity. It's all here and it's all good. (Note: As I did read an ARC, passages quoted may not be in their final forms.)

    Evered and Ada Best were approaching twelve and eleven, as near as it can be reckoned, when some illness carried off their parents one winter. (The parents are present for just enough at the beginning of the story to show what kind of world these children were raised in and to underline just what they lost.) All the two know of their circumstances is that every spring their father would row out to a schooner that anchors at the mouth of their cove to pick up provisions, and then row out again every fall to deliver the season's catch of cod, picking up their winter stores at that time. When

    appears as expected, Evered rows out and learns the truth of their situation: The yearly catch never quite covers the cost of the flour, peas, and molasses that their father would bring home, and being thus in debt to some faraway Mr. Strapp, his agent, “the Beadle”, must decide whether the youngster before him would be capable of bringing in a sufficient haul of cod, or whether he should send the two into service somewhere until they might clear their family's ledger of debt. Evered convinces the man to give them a season to prove themselves – likely because no one else would want to take over their “enterprise” with its remote, inhospitable curve of the rock and its sand-floored, drafty hut – and the siblings begin the back-breaking work of hand-fishing, preparing salt cod, hard-scrabble gardening, and the hundred other tasks of survival. Their catch is just decent enough to satisfy the Beadle when he returns again in the fall, but it's not nearly enough to touch the debt; and so the seasons and the years go by.

    Crummey, being a noted poet as well as a novelist, is a master at selecting just the right words to describe the landscape and the atmosphere and the human heart (and I am always delighted by his obscure Newfoundlandisms; “a dwy of snow” and “my little blowsabella” sound like something out of

    to my ear). The work and the worries are so well captured, but we never forget that these are children; these

    innocents: I smiled as they played games (and especially their invented “There's Your Answer”) and it broke my heart that a snatch of a drinking song that Evered overheard on board

    became the only song the siblings knew (small blessings, I guess, that they even found the one to fill a dark winter's evening).

    And naturally, as time goes by and these children grow to adolescence, forces will see them growing closer and growing apart again:

    Between the setting's remoteness from civilisation and the richly selected language,

    had a real Cormac McCarthyesque vibe that I savoured:

    And, of course, “the innocents” conjures the Garden of Eden, and the infrequent visitors tempt a Fall with their Books of Knowledge, and how long should the pair stubbornly cling to their Paradise after being shown how inconsequential their spit of dirt is in the scheme of the whole wide world? Interior journeys are just as fraught as taking a leaky dory out onto the open ocean and challenges to one's innocence and ignorance are just as taxing as the hard labour of keeping a body going; and to think: It all started with that small nugget of inspiration and I believed every word of what Crummey has breathed into being.

  • Diana

    I liked this quite a bit. I always have an attraction to stories about survival in the far north, and also stories that look at the nuts and bolts of what it took to wrest a living out of inhospitable nature, and this is definitely that.

    Siblings, a boy of about 12 and a girl of about 10, are orphaned when an illness takes their parents and their infant sister. They live in a very lonely place with no neighbors closeby, on the northern coast of Newfoundland, and they manage to stay in the shack w

    I liked this quite a bit. I always have an attraction to stories about survival in the far north, and also stories that look at the nuts and bolts of what it took to wrest a living out of inhospitable nature, and this is definitely that.

    Siblings, a boy of about 12 and a girl of about 10, are orphaned when an illness takes their parents and their infant sister. They live in a very lonely place with no neighbors closeby, on the northern coast of Newfoundland, and they manage to stay in the shack where they were born and make a living out of salt cod, berry-picking, and eventually hunting and trapping. The book describes this harsh world very well, its long winters and short summers, the unbelievably difficult work they have to do. It also describes these two growing people very well.

  • Rachel Brown

    Thanks to @doubledayca for the ARC for The Innocents by Michael Crummey. This was my very first ARC and what a way to start with a captivating story of true survival in the hardest of circumstances. This book was beautiful all the way from its cover to the last word. 📚.

    .

    The Innocents is the story of a brother and sister orphaned in an isolated cove in Newfoundland. Although the time period is never fully identified, it appears to take place at some time in the late 18th century. As Ada and Evere

    Thanks to @doubledayca for the ARC for The Innocents by Michael Crummey. This was my very first ARC and what a way to start with a captivating story of true survival in the hardest of circumstances. This book was beautiful all the way from its cover to the last word. 📚.

    .

    The Innocents is the story of a brother and sister orphaned in an isolated cove in Newfoundland. Although the time period is never fully identified, it appears to take place at some time in the late 18th century. As Ada and Evered Best are orphaned in fierce and desolate area of Newfoundland with no knowledge of the outside world, it is up to them to survive. As time passes, they are visited by sailors and with that comes stories of the world around them. They begin to understand that they are not alone in the world while they also start to feel what they are missing. 🤔.

    .

    This book was a beautiful read. The beauty yet sheer isolation; the desperation to survive yet the belief that all will work out. There were many times where I stopped reading and wanted to research about that time period and the actual story that inspired this book. You become immersed in the story and the fate of Ada and Evered. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. .

    @tolovetoread #tolovetoread #read #reader #reading #readingaddict #readinglife #readersofinsta #readersofig #readthisbook #book #books #bookstagram #bookworm #bookish #bookreviewer #bibliophile #bookaddict #booksofig #booksof2019 #library #bookrecommendations #bookishcanadians #amreading #bookthoughts #booklife #booksandchill #readanywhere #canada🍁#theinnocents #michaelcrummey

  • Debbie Symonds

    Perhaps I read this story too soon after reading "Where the Crawdads Sing". I didn't like it. There were a few similarities with the theme of orphans and living alone and lonely. The story focused too much on sex, sexual urges, the sex act, dreaming of sex, thinking of sex, analyzing sex. Not that I'm anti-sex but this was a bit much. If I want to read about isolated outposts in Newfoundland, I'd much rather read Donna Morrissey's novels. Her characters are memorable, engaging and certainly don'

    Perhaps I read this story too soon after reading "Where the Crawdads Sing". I didn't like it. There were a few similarities with the theme of orphans and living alone and lonely. The story focused too much on sex, sexual urges, the sex act, dreaming of sex, thinking of sex, analyzing sex. Not that I'm anti-sex but this was a bit much. If I want to read about isolated outposts in Newfoundland, I'd much rather read Donna Morrissey's novels. Her characters are memorable, engaging and certainly don't annoy me. This review is harsh; however, I really dislike wasting time reading a bad book when there are so many good and/or excellent ones out there.

  • NidhaRajoli

    Can we just talk about cover on this beautiful book?

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