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The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore
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The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In these evocative sketches, stories and essays, nature writer Robert Finch explores the people, geography and wildlife of this remote but lovely corner of Canada. Beloved nature writer Robert Finch spent the greater part of a decade travelling around Newfoundland, the remote island "at the edge of America". Between the icy cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean, the lush valleys a ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 19th 2007 by Counterpoint
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Ed Petersen
Sep 25, 2012 Ed Petersen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to travel!
Having just visited Newfoundland, I found this book to be an exquisite treat. It gets all those parts of the province spot on! Wonderful writing style.
What a wonderful book of essays this is. Go out and buy it and read it as soon as possible! I don't read as much non-fiction as I should, but this book is one that all readers who appreciate the craft of writing should read. It is in the same class as Beautiful Swimmers, Medusa and the Snail, and some of John McPhee's stuff. A friend in Maine sent me a clipping from the Portland newspaper with a review of the book and thought that since I love Canada and, especially, the Maritimes, I should give ...more
Jul 10, 2014 Michelle added it
Shelves: gave-up
I wanted to get into this book. I wanted to enjoy it. I just couldn't. Judging by the reviews here a lot of people loved it. I have enjoyed a great many travel books and non-fiction detailing various places. This one just did not motivate me to keep going.
Finch does a great job of capturing the people and dialect of Newfoundland, but I found it hard to follow his repeated visits over a decade to compare and contrast life in the outports. It was hard to figure out what was happening when, kinda like a Newfoundlander telling a story.

I loved his account of visiting the northern gannet colony at Cape St. Mary's, his walk to find the caribou herd, and his visits with the lighthouse keeper who had relatives in New Bedford.

I give it 3 1/2 caribou.

A wide collection of stories from around Newfoundland of the towns and cities and how change is impacting them. Written in the 1980's there is already a sense of it being a world lost.
Finch does a great job of describing nature, people, and philosophical dilemmas (such as whether man/woman needs immense challenges to live fully). I read his book while traveling in Newfoundland and felt that he really captured the land and the people in a highly sensitive manner.
I can't tell you how fascinating this book was. I had no particular interest in Newfoundland, so not sure why I picked it up, but I was enthralled. Natural history, anthropology, sailing, fishery,travelogue- it's got it all, and it's all beautifully written.
Oct 05, 2007 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who would like to learn more about Newfoundland
I grew up in Newfoundland. Robert Finch paints a very accurate picture of the outports with his essays, and captures the nuances of the people and their dialect.
Dec 29, 2008 Tracy added it
Absolutely loved it and felt like I was on the journey with the author. True and wonderful glimpses into the people, culture and people of Newfoundland
A peripatetic musing on Newfoundland - history (natural and political) and travel narrative, combined with sociological and linguistic explorations.
I loved reading this book. I could almost hear my grandparents talking to me all the way through.
so far I really like it...
Aug 29, 2009 Dave is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book. It's a good attempt to address different audiences--even so--it remains authentic, I think. Highly recommended.
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Robert Duer Claydon Finch was a Canadian poet and academic. He twice won Canada's top literary honor, the Governor General's Award, for his poetry.
More about Robert Finch...
The Norton Book of Nature Writing Common Ground: A Naturalist's Cape Cod Death of a Hornet and Other Cape Cod Essays The Primal Place Outlands

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