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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  4,538 ratings  ·  704 reviews
Sprawling and intimate, stark and fantastical, Galore is a novel about the power of stories to shape and sustain us.

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Caribbean & Canada and the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award; Finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Book Award, and the Winterset
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Doubleday Canada
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,538 ratings  ·  704 reviews

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Heidi The Reader
Apr 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Galore is all over the place. And I didn't like it.

I like epic historical fiction. (The Far Pavilions) But, this one wasn't epic. It was more a collection of pointless stories strung together than a rich tapestry with unifying threads.

I don't necessarily mind plot lines about priests who act in un-priestly ways. (The Thorn Birds) But there was nothing redeeming about this priest.

In fact, I can't think of a single character that I cared for much. That's a shame because there were so many to choos
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"100 Years of Solitude in Newfoundland" is probably how everyone describes this book, because that's what it is. Same magical realism; same complex, circling family trees. Same mythic feel; same epic, frustrating refusal to commit to one story. It's a little bit easier to read - when it zooms in on one story or another it zooms with a vengeance, gaining a sense of immediacy that Marquez's book almost never hits. And it's like half as long.

Here is Newfoundland:

There's a Yeats thing happening here
Jun 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is my Amazon review:

There are those who enjoy books with undeveloped characters, major plot threads picked up and dropped, hypocritical religionists with no contrasting genuine heroism and morality, bleak setting, and ultimately pointless story, but I am not one of these people. If the book itself doesn't take its own story seriously (did Judah really come from a whale? Did they really harvest all that squid?), then why on earth should we readers? When I read the reviews of this book, I tho
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, audio
Two parts history and one part fairy tale, Galore takes place on the isolated island of Newfoundland, where the lines between reality and fantasy, and between superstition and happenstance all get a bit blurry. While at the beginning, I would find myself questioning how any of this could actually happen, by the end I freely accepted the idea that the reason a girl would be born with webbed fingers could be traced to an affair her great-grandfather had had with a mermaid decades earlier.

The quali
Kathy Chumley
Every so often I finish a book, and can't start another one because I'm still thinking about the book I just finished. Galore is one of those books.

Galore pulled me in from the start. Part historical fiction, part magical realism, and part multi-generational family saga. Witchcraft and modern (for its time) medicine. Two feuding families. The haves vs. the have-nots. Religion. Ghosts. Galore has it all. Stories Galore. There is abundance every so often, and there are hard times more often. The p
Suanne Laqueur
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018
Ho. Lee. Crap. Wow. This was amazing. And I know everyone won’t think so. This is the kind of book that has a select audience. It spans centuries and generations with families interacting and intermarrying. I live for this kind of book and there were times when it was an effort to keep all the characters straight. But I loved it. I must be a sucker for a novel about a fishing village and life on the sea, because I loved Carsten Jensen’s We, the Drowned the same way. I would put that book, Galore ...more
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Galore is a swallow you whole kind of novel. Speaking of which when the story begins the townspeople of Paradise Deep pull a man out of a whale. I have to suspect that even in the great whaling times of the early 19th century you just didn't see that every day. The whale has beached itself on the shore of this remote village in Newfoundland. When it dies the citizens come together to butcher the whale and gather the blubber for lamp oil. Then just like Uncle Jed's bubblin' crude out from the wha ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My Maternal Grandmother was born and raised on Bonne Bay in Woody Point. This is a very special place, extremely dear to my heart, which should be a testament to this beautiful and wild island's powers since I've only been privileged enough to visit there twice. Hence, my interest in this book, and I hate to say it, but it just wasn't for me.

I'm very glad to see that so many have enjoyed a Newfie writer. Truly. However, if this had been my one and only exposure to the island and it's people, I m
Rachel Ford
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I started reading Galore and I was carried off my own feet in my small apartment in Nepal, carried to a cold and difficult island off the east coast of Canada. Carried so effectively that it didn't matter whether or not I previously thought of Newfoundland as such a barren, unwelcoming place, what mattered was that I believed it. I believed that a man could be cut from a whale and smell of fish ever after, that he could pass the trait to his son, that he could be mute and white and magical. I be ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This novel has a lot of elements that pretty much guarantee an enjoyable read for me - a bleak, cold-weather island setting; embedded superstitions and magical realism; religious conflict; quirky characters... this is my "type." Readers who enjoyed The Shipping News or Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer would probably enjoy this.

I did get a bit bogged down in the discussion of the fisherman's union, although surely that was timely in the period this is set. That and a frustration with how the secon
Apr 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book the seemed impossible not to like. The sheer amount of awards and accolades it had gathered, the Best of 2009 lists it was on. And yet the main reason I read it all the way through was my OCD style commitment to finishing books and I was happy to have it over and done with. What makes this particular experience odd is that it was such a well written book, Crummey really has a way with language and some turns of phrase were simply stunning, but it simply wasn't enough to carry th ...more
Linda Robinson
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of such potency, it feels alive in your hands, fills your head with its characters, the names whispering in dreams in the middle of the night. Devine's Widow. Jabez Trim. Mary Tryphena. Judah Devine. Doubting Thomas Trass. Reverend Dodge. King-me Sellers. Obediah and Azariah. The triplets who are so identical, even they all think they're Alphonse. And the places they live! Paradise Deep. The Gut. Selina's House. The story is intricate, like a labyrinth but one the reader can walk ...more
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Michael Crummey was born & raised in Newfoundland, lives there still, and has set all of his meticulously researched novels & collections of short stories thus far in this beautiful, windswept, and harshly-demanding Canadian province.

is set in the outport villages of Paradise Deep and The Gut, joined by the Tolt Road over the headland between them, in an undefined period that covers most of the nineteenth century and the first few years of the twentieth. The novel chronicles the lives of
Friederike Knabe
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
Michael Crummey opens his new novel with Judah, "wilderness on two legs, mute and unknowable, a blankness that could drown a man", sitting in a "makeshift asylum cell, shut away with the profligate stink of fish that clung to him all his days." Only Mary Tryphena Devine comes near him these days, urging him to take a little food... Judah's story is the primary, yet not the only otherworldly theme that glides through this multigenerational chronicle, set in one of Newfoundland's wild and rough ea ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, north-america
A glorious read even though it loses a little bit of its steam in the second half of the book. Still, it is a wonderful read, a mix of generational family tales, folklore, & history. Loved the way Crummey also showcased the cyclical nature of life & of the generations of the families.

(If you read & enjoy this book, I think you'd also really enjoy Mink River by Brian Doyle.)
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know what just happened to me. I was minding my own business, my February reads already planned and stacked up on a shelf, when suddenly I was overcome by the desire for a spontaneous read, something that has been sitting on my shelves for a long time, something I haven’t given a second thought to since I placed it on my shelf. Hello Galore! Nice to meet you. And just like that I was sucked into a fantastical world like none I’ve been in before. Part fable, part myth, part old fashioned ...more
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chabon fans
Recommended to Christine by: CBC
So there is this albino who gets swallowed by a fish and then . . .

Well, the then is a bit complicted, kinda like life. You have religious battles, you have a sex addicted priest, you got witch women, you have ghosts, you have adultry.

There is even fish!

Galore is one of those fantasy novels that people who say they don't read fantasy, read and don't know it's fantasy. It makes me want to visit Newfoundland.

While not the deep structue of say A.S. Byatt, this book is one of those family sagas, an
I need to think a little before I rate this book!
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

Historical fiction and a multi-generational tale, set in the freezing Newfoundland seaside town of Paradise Deep. Layered with snippets of the resident’s lives containing a touch of myth and small tastes of paranormal.

About: Galore is a complex and page-turning book, set in an area and time where living is bleak – a frigid seaside town in the mid 1800’s. Sadly the locals are starving, so when a dying whale swims into the harbor the town folk eagerly wa
Dana Stabenow
Mar 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
I come from a small coastal fishing community, so a lot of the themes in this novel resonated pretty strongly. Isolation, insulation, privation, these are memes shared by all remote communities who sell what they catch, wind up eating it if they can't sell it, and starve if they don't catch anything. And they always yearn after the plenty of fishing seasons past:

They spoke of the days of plenty with a wistful exaggeration, as if it was an ancient time they knew only through stories generations o
Jerry Auld
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Hmmmm. Well, started this after wanting to for so long, and really amazed by Crummy's writing - his evocation of the people and the coves and the ghost, oh, especially the ghosts, is really something.
I could read for chapter after chapter. And watch the town of people (never really defined by census, just that there were lots more when needed, and many more than the one who starved to death), just pass the time in exquisite detail.


And this "but" stopped me cold at the half-way point, betwee
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing

This is an old fashioned multi-generational novel with a bit of fantasy thoughtfully thrown in. It won numerous Canadian and Commonwealth literary prizes.
The setting begins with a whale stranded on a Newfoundland beach in the late 1700 or early 1800s. As the villagers are stripping the whale for blubber and oil they pull a man from the whale’s stomach. He is barely alive, very white and stinks. They are somewhat religious but there only source of instruction is a Bible recovered from a shipwreck
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
You will not be able to read this book quickly. It will take time, and patience, and often you will find yourself flipping to the family tree in the book to sort out the tumbling cascade of characters who appear in the book, but all your efforts will be rewarded.

Galore by Michael Crummey has more than a touch of magic realism within its pages. If you are not a fan of that style of novel you may not enjoy the story. Still, give the novel a chance. Just because one of the central characters is an
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
They spoke of the days of plenty with a wistful exaggeration, as if it was an ancient time they knew only through stories generations old. My Jesus, the cod, the cod, the cod, that Crusade army of the North Atlantic, that irresistible undersea current of flesh, there was fish in galore one time. Boats run aground on a school swarming so thick beneath them a man could walk upon the very water but for fear of losing his shoes to the indiscriminate appetite of the fish.


[guh-lawr, -lohr]
S.B. Wright
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have friends who are enamoured of this book, I bought it at the Adelaide Writers Festival after hearing Crummey read an excerpt during an interview with Margo Lanagan.

If authors want to sell books, develop some public reading skills and choose your passages wisely. Crummey reeled me in hook, line and sinker.

He read (in a faint Newfoundland accent if I recall) a selection of pages from near the beginning of the novel; a dying whale washes up on the shore and the townsfolk set about harvesting i
Doug Ingold
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are two epigraphs at the beginning of this marvelous novel. The first, being from Gabriel García Márquez, suggests we’ll encounter strains of magic realism in the pages ahead. The second, being from Psalms, hints that the book promises a rich language, a unique cadence and an emphasis on story as opposed to character. Both, it turns out, are appropriate.
GALORE is set on “the shore” in far Newfoundland in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The country is wild, the weather terrible, the se
Sep 11, 2011 rated it liked it
On a sentence by sentence level, Galore is very well written, the plot is full of interesting twists, strange and uncanny moments that somehow feel both plausible and magical - a spin on Jonah, a sex-obsessed ghost, a magical tree, a mechanical dolphin - good stuff. The characters are solid, but at times they are also intentionally flatten - as though they do exist but on a Sunday school felt-board or within a rather droll Biblical/steam punk role playing game. Setting-wise, Galore is a regional ...more
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Judah arrives in Paradise Deep, Newfoundland in the belly of a whale. He is cut out of the whale and joins a community full of unique characters. The story follows the families through multi-generations and many changes.

This book screamed literature. It seemed like the type of book taught in advanced high school English classes. It had a dreamy mist about it that kept me from becoming immersed in the story. I felt a step removed the entire time I was reading it.

The characters were definitely uni
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 A novel about Newfoundland by a Canadian author from Newfoundland (an island province off the easternmost coast of Canada). Situated in an isolated coastal settlement, centers around two families and their descendants, and encompasses about 200 years.
This book captivated me: the characters, the setting, and the folkloric tales/stories.
I was born in a small coastal town in Cape Breton that evolved from a fishing village - as a small child I remember hearing many similar folkloric tales told
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say it any better than Linda Robinson:

"This is a book of such potency, it feels alive in your hands, fills your head with its characters, the names whispering in dreams in the middle of the night. Devine's Widow. Jabez Trim. Mary Tryphena. Judah Devine. Doubting Thomas Trass. Reverend Dodge. King-me Sellers. Obediah and Azariah. The triplets who are so identical, even they all think they're Alphonse.

And the places they live! Paradise Deep. The Gut. Selina's House. The story is intricat
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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
“He wasn’t a religious man but a vision of what Paradise might be came to him, a windowed room afloat on an endless sea, walls packed floor to ceiling with all the books ever written or dreamed of. It was nearly enough to make giving up the world bearable.” 9 likes
“From what I have seen of the world, Reverend, motherhood is a certainty, but fatherhood is a subject of debate.” 7 likes
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