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Down to the dirt

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Down to the Dirt
unabridged audio edition
by Joel Thomas Hynes


Read by Joel Thomas Hynes (aka Joel Hynes) , Sherry White and Jonny Harris

Originally published by Killick Press in 2004; reprinted by HarperCollins 2005

Down to the Dirt is Joel Thomas Hynes' Percy Janes Award-winning first novel. Told in the voices of various characters and from first and third-person perspecti
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209 pages
Published April 7th 2005 by HarperCollins (first published February 28th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 252)
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Tiff
Aug 10, 2008 Tiff rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are obsessed with Canada, as am I
Recommended to Tiff by: some random shelf at Glendale public
This was a quick and easy read which gave me some insight into life in Newfoundland today. Since there are few contemporary novelists from this region (read, zero), I thought it was cool to get a peek of the Newfoundlound scene. Hynes does a great job of giving the reader a sense of the apathy and utter hopelessness that Keith and Natasha feel, and I dig that they met when Keith was pissing on Natasha's front lawn. However, by the time they get together, any potential for decent characterization ...more
jcg
Interesting character study, a sort of gritty Rebel Without a Cause meets On The Road. A morality lesson in what happens when our society and economy give young people no hope, no direction and no future. Bored with small town life, Keith becomes a troublemaker and causing trouble turns out to be all he achieves. Really captures the accent and the reality of life on the South Shore of Newfoundland.

The novel is loosely structured, rambling in places. Written all in the first person, but in the vo
...more
Kate
To me this is a love story. Love that is an addiction itself, even without drugs and alcohol that this book has everywhere. I picked up this book to be on the Rock, and I got there not by the descriptive scenery of the ocean air of the Rock, but by the Newfoundland accent of the characters. Other than that this story could be told from anywhere in the world. Story of two kids growing up together in the small town. Drawn to each other by the similar events in their childhood where grown up let th ...more
Peter
Joel Hynes' protagonist Keith Kavanagh is a mess: mixed up with the law, a drunk and mildly psychotic, but still he remains somewhat likeable. His spiral into self destruction is hard to put down. Hynes has a way with vernacular, almost like a Newfoundland version of Irvine Welsh.
Ari Abraham
I read this in one sitting
Florence Lyon
Back in 2006, after a bit of reading up on the cast and characters on CBC Television's new hit "Hatching, Matching and Dispatching", I came across an article about Joel Hynes who plays Nick Crocker, the grave digging, hard drinking, chain smoking boyfriend of Darlene Furey. I have to admit that I was attracted to this bad boy character and curious about his strange fetish for coffin sex. It makes for good laughs for a couple of episodes.

This young fella had written a novel that won the Percy Jan
...more
Pooch MacKenzie
This book is a lot of things to me. The narration reminds me of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, but with a Newfoundland accent and a lot of cussing. There is a coming-of-age feel to the story, but does Keith really learn from it all? The story seems to be haphazardly written, but then again, the main character is also a mess. Moreover, it's quite evident that JTH knows how to write, as there are many literary techniques riddled throughout. Picture the rugged looking bad boy from a small ...more
Katlegge
Ok so the reason I loved this novel so much was that it was so hilarious. I felt it captured Newfoundland slang perfectly. It wasn't a typical Newfoundland novel...as in novels I don't usually enjoy. It was witty and real.
Julia
A great fast read and interesting - I listened to the audiobook and it was entertaining - the Newfie slang was quite thick - but I guess that added character too. Loved it!!
Tuck
i liked one reviewer's idea, the irvine welsh of newfoundland. lots of good local inside "facts" of the great white northeast, and keith the hooligan practically destroys his little town, why? drink, drug, violence, and why-the-hell-not? it's a shitty town anyway. also reminds me of author niall griffiths and his character ianto in the hills of wales Sheepshagger: A Novel
too bad this is sort of fake brutalism writing. maybe next time joel hynes.
Dana
Keith Kavanagh is a hard-ticket. I suppose if you took any of those coming-of-age novels, say Catcher in the Rye, and set it in a small town in Newfoundland, and inserted a Southern Shore dialect, you'd end up with something like Down to the Dirt. I s'pose b'y.

It's gritty, humorous, sometimes shockingly autobiographical. The novel breathes, the stories squirm around on the pages. Some of them stay with you, squirming, for a long time.
Sean
"Look, the fact of the matter is that life is long. Life is a long, drawn-out and disgusting ordeal. If it was so short, I wouldn't drink. I'd want to have a good grip. I'd want to remember things. Life is long."

I loved this book. It's written without sentimentality and the characters ring true. I'd give it four and a half stars if that were possible.
Andrea
I am desperate to go to St. John's Newfoundland after reading this book, although the portrayal is hardly idyllic. The characters have that desperate quality to them - like they can see the way they behave is wrong and will make them miserable - but they just can't help themselves. This guy can write.
AmberBug *shelfnotes.com*
Wasn't too keen on the ending or the story itself. I liked the characters and the writing style. The story didn't have much of a plot but I did like the clever insightful things the main character did or said.
Daniel Kizlyk
This is a wonderful story full of honest, harsh truths. the movie was fairly well done.
Kevin Gallan
i loved this book.very well written.
Stephen
So very, very good...
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JOEL THOMAS HYNES was born and raised in Calvert, Newfoundland. His book, Down to the Dirt, won the Percy Janes First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Atlantic Book Awards and the Winterset Award, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It has also been staged to widespread acclaim and was recently adapted for the big screen. A celebrated author of novels, short st ...more
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