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Random Passage (Random Passage #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  955 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Forced to flee England, the Andrews family books passage to a fresh start in a distant country, only to discover a barren, inhospitable land at the end of their crossing. To seventeen-year-old Lavinia, uprooted from everything familiar, it seems a fate worse than the one they left behind. Driven by loneliness she begins a journal. Random Passage satisfies the craving for t ...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Breakwater Books,Canada (first published January 1st 1992)
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The Shipping News by Annie ProulxRandom Passage by Bernice MorganThe Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne JohnstonKit's Law by Donna MorrisseyWaiting for Time by Bernice Morgan
Newfoundland Reads
2nd out of 142 books — 36 voters
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Best Canadian Literature
173rd out of 770 books — 698 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,664)
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Louise
Random Passage gives us an honest and humbling look at how life was lived in early Newfoundland. The will of the people within this small community to survive and provide for their families is incredible. How these people came to create a community and learned, through trial and error, to survive the harsh realities of life by living off the land and the harsh Atlantic ocean. Building their extremely bare bones basic homes for shelter to protect themselves from the elements, learning to live in ...more
Karyl
This book tells the story of early settlers to the island of Newfoundland, a place where life was so difficult that the slightest miscalculation in supplies laid in for winter could mean the difference between life and death. It was heart-wrenching to read how fine that line was, how close these families came to death every single winter. I found it especially difficult to read how hard these folks worked, day in and day out, to the point of exhaustion and even beyond, just to make enough fish b ...more
Kathryn Jennex
Mar 07, 2012 Kathryn Jennex rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kathryn by: Granny Bates Bookstore
When I first moved to the island of Newfoundland I wanted to read local authors who wrote about it. this was the first book that was suggested. Note: it was recommended to me by the most charming owner of one of the most charming bookstores: Granny Bates located on Bates Hill.

I walked around reading this book. I became each of it's characters in my mind.

If only I had known then how much impact this book, about this far off place, and what a significant role it would come to play in my life!

- Ra
...more
K.
I read this a few years ago for my Canadian Lit course. Bernice Morgan's Random Passage is the brutal and depressing depiction of the lives of the early settlers of colonial Newfoundland, when families lived in isolation and whose survival depended on a bleak and sometimes unforgiving climate.

Reading this is a journey. Many times I felt like I was dragging myself along the very barren land the characters themselves tried to make livable. And truth be told, I don't think I enjoyed reading it, I
...more
Louise
Good reading, historical fiction. I recommend this book. It was the story of a very hard life, of a family who left England in the early 1800s to live on the coast of New Foundland. The very small fishing community they joined, the unimaginable work and losses and ultimately the strength and perseverance of the entire group was interesting to read about. The book was about life, loss, hope and the cycle of that which continues.
Linda
I really enjoyed this saga of a family who fled England and settled in Newfoundland, a not very settled sort of place. Having just visited Newfoundland myself, it reinforced my impressions of how very remote landscape has evolved. The characters seem very real - each with his or her own story, some with secrets in their pasts, others just making their way as best they can through lives of hardship made only slightly easier by the intense small community in which they lived. It's sequel "Waiting ...more
Lisa/Bluestem Cafeohlai

Addressing hardships of maritime living, displaced class struggles and faith-based separations, Ms. Morgan progresses her story of the lives of outcast English family members and their fellow re-settlers at the Cape (Random). Once ashore on Newfound Land, their survival, conflicts, and cultural shifts make the reader shiver and shudder with the cold, fear, hunger and pain as felt by the characters. Morgan's story is depicted through a tactile understanding of the topography, climate, flora, faun
...more
Doreen
Spanning 15 years in the early 1800s, this is the tale of two families living in a remote Newfoundland outport. It's primarily a story about the struggle to survive, but also about relationships, personalities, and secrets.

Two-thirds of the book is narrated from the point of view of Lavinia Andrews; the last one-third gives the viewpoint of Thomas Hutchings, a secretive man who is employed to be at Cape Random for the fishery. This second view adds depth to the novel.

The novel includes vivid d
...more
Maryan
An engaging family saga set in a stormy outport called Randmom Passage in early 20th century Newfoundland. The tale weaves mystery, determination, dedication, betrayal and struggles to survive. I was swept away by the descriptions of place and time and the believable characters who survived so many challenges.
Gaile
I am of two minds as to whether or not I liked this book. The first part is told in the voice of Lavinia Andrews as she writes about their forced departure from Ireland and resettlement on a fishing cover in Newfoundland. I am not fond of fish so reading about the characters working with all this fish quite turned my stomach. The second part which I found more interesting is in the voice of Thomas Hutchings who was already there when the Andrews family came.
I feel the author could have develope
...more
Liisa
"Random Passage" by Bernice Morgan tells the tale of the Andrews Family who arrive penniless and without any provision in Newfoundland in the early 1800s and the life they establish in this inhospitable and God-forsaken place.

Recommended by a friend, I found "Random Passage" in my local library and started at once. However after reading the prologue, I feared it could be a laborious read. However seemlessly I became engrossed in the lives of the Andrews and Vincent family and the mystery that is
...more
Tricia
I read this book while in Newfoundland. This certainly added a depth to my experience, both from the book's standpoint and from my experience of Newfoundland life. This book was recommended to me by several locals, who are proud of their authors. The book is well written, and gives the reader some amazing insight to the history of living in Newfoundland...survival, human nature and character, sea life. The book seemed to end a little abruptly, however, knowing there is a second book mollified me ...more
Andy Janes
This was a pretty good read, especially with family from Newfoundland. However, I found the erratic switching of voice between Vinnie and Mary to be a little off putting. I did really enjoy the end however.
Ruthie
First of all my copy is titled "Cape Random" not Cap Random.....the notes inside say it was first published as Random Passage..
This is how historical fiction should be done! Every single character is so completely drawn and there are a lot of them! The landscape, the living conditions, the sights, the smells, the customs, traditions, everything is captured so well. Beautiful writing, intriguing storytelling! There is no info in my copy but the author thanks her parents who are of the same name a
...more
Karen
Feb 15, 2015 Karen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Karen by: Book Group
Very interesting historical fiction about settlers in Newfoundland. I really enjoyed the writing but am giving it a 3 star instead of 4 because I found it slow going at times.
Jan
This is the first of several books by Morgan set in the very early days of Newfoundland. The story is rooted deeply in the experience of the folks who settled this very harsh area and built families and lives on land that was barely hospitable.
Reading Random Passage enhanced my experience of visitng the eastern portion of Newfoundland, even though I read the book after I returned home. This landscape is amazing - both beautiful and daunting. And the people have to be so very strong to survive.
R
...more
Anne Degroot
Loved this book, so interesting, about the first pilgrams from Ireland to Newfoundland. Truly a harsh and remarkable story
Steven
Nov 19, 2014 Steven added it

fascinating look at early Canadian pioneering life, would highly recommend. at some point I couldn't put it down...
Tracy Willcott
This is a book close to my heart, being based in small town Newfoundland. It's a story of early settlers whose primary way of life was fishing cod. In the beginning, Europeans came and fished off the coast of Newfoundland in the summers. Slowly, a few started to settle over the winter. The harshness of this way of life on a cold, barren, rocky island in the Atlantic is unimaginable.

This book tells of a few families thrown together on Cape Random (how fate brought them there) and the strength and
...more
Michelle Vey-compton
Amazing story!!! Couldn't read it fast enough... Couldn't wait to turn the page!
Tricia
I was completely wrapped up in the characters and concerned to know what would happen next. There were so many characters that I had to create a family tree for each family to keep them all straight. Children kept arriving and there would be mention of a child without a connection to their family. In those cases it usually popped up later in the story. It is an amazing slice of life in an outport of Newfoundland, the ruggedness of the land, strength of character of the women and men who had unde ...more
Mallee Stanley
I loved this Canadian historical fiction because the characters came to life
Literary  Chanteuse
After watching the CBC production of this book and it's sequel a few years back I have been wanting to read it and so glad that I finally did. I even had the privledge of meeting the actress on the cover, Aoife McMahon who briliantly played Mary Bundle. The book elaborates on the characters and their backrounds which of course gives the reader a full rounded perspective on who they are and a much more dynamic aspect to the whole story. Some interesting events take place that were not in the film ...more
Janellyn51
I did really love this book. I have a thing about Newfoundland, not sure why, but I do. It's a sad book, but you can't help but admire the peoples courage and stick toitiveness. The charachters are wide and varied in personality, and the characthers are well defined. The sea and sturdy people appeal to me, even more when they start out not knowing thier ass from their elbow and then learn how to cope with their circumstances. I admire quiet talented people who know how to do lots of practical th ...more
Kris
If you like historical fiction, you will love this book.
Luciana Kuamoto
Oh, I loved this book and couldn't stop reading it!
Being new in Canada I had the opportunity to put my hands in this amazing book about the history of Newfoundland in a dramatic and rich story with authentic and really passionate characters. The author brought the characters alive, so that I could not put the book down once I started it! What I love is the determination and the endurance of human nature, and the capacity to love and to marvel at the world around us despite challenges.
Colleen
Emily found this book for me at a used book sale. Just what I needed for a good summer read. I got caught up in the story and couldn't put it down. Not exactly a happy story, but it was well-written, had memorable characters, challenges, romance, mystery and the historical elements that I enjoy. It is set in the early 1800's in a small settlement along the coast of Newfoundland. How these hearty people endured is beyond me. Now I'm searching the used book sites for the sequel.
Marg
Another great Newfoundland author....loved the book and the mini-series on TV.
Betsy
A good story that unfolded well so I did finish the book. Rich characters, well-developed place and time. But, this book did not speak to me, or stay with me after I finished reading. It was very slow in the middle so that I put it down and almost didn't finish it. For lack of another book, I picked it back up and found the end more compelling that most of the middle of the book. I'm glad I finished it, but would not read it again.
Noelle Walsh
This book is so beautifully written! It captures perfectly what life was like in rural Newfoundland in the old days. From listening to nan, life was a lot like this. I feel like I learned more about my cultural history by reading this book, especially seeing as I live in rural Newfoundland. In my opinion this should be on the to-read list of every Newfoundlander, young, old and those of us who come-from-away!
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