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The Innocents

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,293 ratings  ·  690 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 293 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Doubleday (first published August 27th 2019)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,293 ratings  ·  690 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ava was ten, her brother twelve, when her less than a year old baby sister died. Their mother and father took sick and soon followed. The family has lived an isolated life in a secluded New Toy Diane cove, their access to people restricted to the elderly woman who came to help her mother during the birthing. Now they were truly alone. Alone but not helpless having helped their parents in their daily lives. Fishing for for, trading with a ship that came once a year, the bartered for the supplies ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Innocents: Shortlisted for the 3 major literary awards of 2019: The Giller Prize, The Governor General’s Awards, and the. Rogers Writers Trust Prize.

There is much to admire in Michael Crummey’s writing. He masterfully evokes a time and place which is set in the harsh, isolated world of northern Newfoundland, probably in the early 1800s. It is an inhospitable environment. The desolate area overlooks an often dangerous, raging sea where months-long ice fields trap boats, and winters are long
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They were left together in the cove then with its dirt-floored stud tilt, with its garden of root vegetables and its scatter of outbuildings, with its looming circle of hills and rattling brook and its view of the ocean's grey expanse beyond the harbour skerries. The cove was the heart and sum of all creation in their eyes and they were alone there with the little knowledge of the world passed on haphazard and gleaned by chance.

I love when an ARC opens with a note from the book's editor, giv
Canadian Reader
I regret to say that at about the 2/3 mark I bailed on this book. Yes, it’s atmospheric and well written, but I came to find the story of two orphaned siblings in remote, late 18th-century Newfoundland increasingly tedious. I grew weary of reading (view spoiler).

The author makes abundant skillful use of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, a tome I
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, rounded up.

Sweetland was my favorite book of 2015, so I was so delighted that the long four year wait was finally over with Mr. Crummey's new novel. Unsurprisingly, it is both set in Newfoundland, and has a mixture of the harsh realities of that landscape, along with the gorgeous, precise prose for which Crummey is suitably lauded. There are also hints of the supernatural, as in his previous novel, as well as some harrowing set pieces that he renders cinematically, so the reader can't help
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Snow GIF - Snow GIFs

Such desolation and yet such beauty! Wow! I loved this book! I hadn't even been sure I'd like it let alone love it, and I'm glad I decided to read it. 

The Innocents tells the story of two children whose parents are raising them along the coast of northern Newfoundland. It is a remote area, far from even the nearest town. When the parents die, the children are left to their own innovativeness and fortitude in order to survive in this bleakest and cruelest of locations. The winters are long and br
The story of two orphaned siblings fighting for survival on the wild Labrador coast of Newfoundland. With the exception of a couple of dramatic set pieces, the plot is secondary to the 'extraordinary' relationship that develops between brother and sister. I use the word 'extraordinary' here to elude to a theme which is central to the novel but which is best discovered for one's self.

Michael Crummey writes beautifully of landscape, conveying in an economical and yet poetic style, the vastness an
THE INNOCENTS is an atmospheric story of survival set in 18th century Newfoundland. It begins with death leaving a young brother and sister ages 12 and 10 orphaned. Alone and isolated, Evered and Ada begin and end each day struggling to feed themselves, stay warm during the severe winters, procure enough food throughout the short spring and summer to trade for supplies, and learn the ways of their growing bodies and the world....together.

Didn't much care for this one or some of the places it to

Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Innocents is an example of great storytelling. It reminded me a lot of Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. It is a beautifully constructed, measured story of two orphans, innocent of social expectations and norms, the world of commerce, and adult relationships. The real star of this novel, is the inhospitable Newfoundland Coast. Crummey brings this desolate environment to life, and it looms large in every moment; a force which perpetually threatens to overwhelm the innocence of Ada and Everedd. This ...more
lark benobi
This novel is written with a supernatural attention to detail. It's as if Crummey has taken it upon himself to inhabit the interior spaces of the brother and sister that he conjures up from his imagination. He inhabits their daily lives. He channels them onto the page for us, until I could see and feel what these characters see and feel. Never mind that the world he imagines for these two is like nowhere I could have imagined on my own--I'm there. At just this moment, I can't remember another no ...more
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2


Crummey follows up Galore and Sweetland with another captivating and intimate story rooted in Newfoundland history. Ava and Everett are siblings dealing with the sudden death of there parents and baby sister. Alone in a cove were their parents had run a fishing operation, the brother and sister decide to continue it on despite being so young and isolated on the cove. Over the next several years, Ava and Everett must overcome the treacherous ravages of the
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
DNF 33%

Update 2 Nov.
So when you're in the middle of the ocean, all the books become more valued and so I picked this back up, curious as to why I was put off and everyone else was fairly impressed by it. While I think that this writing is really great, the topic is a difficult one and I wonder why writers like to explore these weird (to me) storylines. As I suspected, this did get weird. The characters were well drawn, especially the girl, who had periods, pregnancy and a sixth sense to deal wit
for the love of sweet baby jesus on the cross do i love michael crummey's writing. like... SERIOUSLY! he is such a unique and inimitable talent. his skill with language continually impresses me, and his ability to truly present the settings of his stories as vivid characters leaves me in awe. that's a lot of praise, isn't it? for what it's worth, i did go into the read fairly neutral. of course i was excited for a NEW michael crummey novel, but i did manage to keep my expectations in check. so e ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Much as the writing was beautiful, the book did not totally enthral me.
It is the story of Evered and Ada, brother and sister, who are left orphaned in a remote location in Newfoundland, after both their parents die. It is a story of survival- the conditions are harsh. They are,I think, 12 and 10 respectively when they are left on their own. Crummy does a terrific job of depicting the bleakness of their situation. The landscape, the winters, the isolation, the lack of knowledge about the world a
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Michael Crummey’s a great story-teller and a fine novelist. The Innocents immersed me in an all but forgotten Newfoundland cove — too small and too remote to even call an outport — of two hundred or so years ago, just as Sweetland and River Thieves did. The tiny cove becomes a world unto itself for the two preteen and then teen orphans fending for themselves, and the annual and random visiting boats could be spaceships bringing visitors from remote and previously unknown planets.

My substantial
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This brother with his prematurely white hair and his younger sister living on their remote and lonely stretch of Newfoundland have stayed with me long after closing this book. If only the ending hadn’t seemed so rushed.
Dannii Elle
Ada and Evered are siblings, attempting to survive on a small, barren stretch of land that is battered by sea winds and harsh winters. Their parents are dead and the only option for their continued existence is to uproot to the nearest town, unless they can follow in their parents hard-working footsteps and make this inhospitable land their home.

Given the synopsis and isolated setting, I anticipated this story to be one akin to the unsettling The Water Cure but instead received something closer
David Yoon
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ada and Evered lose their infant sister before the first snowfall. The ground is frozen solid when they lose their mother, their father tipping her out into the black winter ocean. He joins her shortly, passing before the new year. Ada and Evered are 11 and 9 and in the four opening pages find themselves completely alone on a desolate crag off the coast of Newfoundland that would come to be known as Orphan's Bay.

It's a hell of a start. The brother and sister barely eke out the winter months, aw
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story of two children orphaned and alone trying to survive on the coast of Newfoundland left me a little conflicted. The writing was gorgeous and the story both sad and a testament to a will to survive. The story, however, left me a bit bored at times. The author’s main objective seemed to be a description of the sexual tension between the siblings, but he was vague on it most of the time. Unfortunately, the rest just felt like filler. 3.5⭐️ rounded up
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I'm so torn about this book. I love the isolated landscape of northeastern Newfoundland, the historical details of the fishing industry of the 19th century and the use of now obscure language - not so keen on the brother-sister relationship which I could see where it was headed from near the beginning.

I listened to an interview with the author where he shared that the core sibling story comes from a historical account he came across in an archive while doing research for another project - a trav
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Innocents reminded me of children’s books I read years ago. There’s a fairytale quality to these two orphaned siblings living in absolute isolation Newfoundland. They have no adult to explain their latent desires as they become adolescents. They don’t even know what sex is or how humans reproduce. Although this might sound scandalous and slightly perverse, Crummey delivers a profound meditation on the realms of innocence. And the ending is so perfect and sublime and subverts our ideas of sin ...more
I never wanted this book to end and I feel at a loss now that I am finished. I hope Crummey will continue this story. If ever a sequel was needed, this is it.
Claire Fuller
This book starts with the death of Ada's and Evered's parents and baby sister, leaving the siblings aged 9 and 11 completely alone on a cold and inhospitable New Foundland shore. Ada and Evered - see what Crummey has done there - labour through the seasons only with very occasional visits from The Hope to deliver supplies and take their catch of cod. Ada and Evered know just about enough to survive (and the book is full of the work they do, and the landscape they have to submit to), but like Eve ...more
Gumble's Yard
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Published today 20/08/2020.

The author has in numerous interviews described his inspiration for this novel – looking through some Newfoundland archives and stumbling across a story of a clergyman who found two orphans living alone in an isolated cove in the North of the area; seeing the girl appearing to be pregnant, and assuming incest might be involved, he tried to question them about their relationship but was driven off at gunpoint.

This story is in essence the author’s fictionalisation of tha
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book wasn't for me. The parts of the book that talked about the location and surviving in this secluded environment did interest me; the authors descriptions of the natural surroundings and the depiction of living this kind of life were beautiful. However, I felt really gross and uncomfortable reading this book; the non stop obsession over the sexual activity/thoughts/tension between the brother and sister was just too much for me. It went on and on and just never seemed to end.

I did enjoy
If you love beautiful language, this is the book for you. Crummey incorporates plenty of unique Newfoundland-isms into the text, but you can figure out what they mean quite easily from the context. I love language and words, so I found this new vocabulary to be quite intoxicating.

And what a story! A boy of 12 and a girl of 10 living in a remote cove of Newfoundland, orphaned and trying to carry on as they did when their parents were alive. The author got the premise of the story from an article
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This was the type of book that had elegant writing, vivid setting descriptions and a plot element that pushed the reader's boundaries. I appreciated its strengths and look forward to discussing it at my book club. is also the type of book that lacked soul and emotion. It failed to pull me in to the characters' lives. I really didn't care about either of the two MC's. They were one note and lacked emotional depth.

As I read this story, I felt underwhelmed. I need strong emotion in or
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Ararita (Okretačica stranica)
3.5 ⭐

Well, this book left me with mixed feelings. I loved the writting style quite a lot, Crummey really knows how to write. The gloomy atmosphere was present through the story and in a way I was with Ada and Evered in their cove.

Characters in this novel are brother and sister who are alone on the island after the death of their mother, father and little sister. Crummey really covers all aspects of that estranged way of living and with that I had a little bit of a problem.

Their relationship is q
Debbie Symonds
Aug 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
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' ...more
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Born in Buchans, Newfoundland, Crummey grew up there and in Wabush, Labrador, where he moved with his family in the late 1970s. He went to university with no idea what to do with his life and, to make matters worse, started writing poems in his first year. Just before graduating with a BA in English he won the Gregory Power Poetry Award. First prize was three hundred dollars (big bucks back in 198 ...more

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