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Bay of Spirits: A Love Story

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In 1957, Farley Mowat shipped out aboard one of Newfoundland’s famous coastal steamers, tramping from outport to outport along the southwest coast. The indomitable spirit of the people and the bleak beauty of the landscape would lure him back again and again over the years. In the process of falling in love with a people and a place, Mowat also met the woman who would be t ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 19th 2006)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Steven Langdon
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: super
Like a time capsule, this book brings alive the places and people of part of mid-century Atlantic Canada more than fifty years later. Writing with verve and descriptive vibrancy, iconic author Farley Mowat recreates the time and temperment of outport Southern Newfoundland, as he experienced it in its almost exotic contrast to the Ontario from which he came.

This book recounts Mowat's love affair with Newfoundland, including the dying of the passion that did eventually take place. The landscape is
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Glacially paced, this book about a vanishing way of life on the southwest coast of Newfoundland is still compelling, sad, and beautiful.
Peter Tillman
Skimmed enough of this to satisfy myself that this was warmed-over rehashes of stories told in earlier books. The one thing I really liked were the photos, particularly those of his lady-love, who was a real beauty in her time. So, not recommended, though I enjoyed the original books a great deal.
Not so much a love story but a history of Newfoundland. I guess it's a love story of Newfoundland.
Great history. Well written but a slow read. if you are a Sailor you would find this book interesting. Lots of stories of old sailing boats and fishing.
Readers may have mixed feelings about this travelogue/memoir from the sometimes-controversial Mowat--it is so beautifully written and offers a snapshot of a time and a place that really don't exist anymore, yet casts doubt upon the author's moral code. This is hard to ignore and put behind one as soon as this reveal is encountered, about a third or so into the book. We don't want to judge, but it's there. In the late 50s Mowat, a Canadian from Ontario, embarked upon an extended exploration of th ...more
Tracy Willcott
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Spurred by my son's 5th grade human migration project (and being so close to Newfoundland and yet unable to get home) I find myself delving into my province's history with nostalgia. So I found this book written about Bay d'Espoir (my hometown) and I have to say, Farley has explored more of Newfoundland by boat that I EVER had, or will. He regales accounts of storms and gales and sailors tossing their cookies. His love story about Claire and her "maiden breasts" made me toss MY cookies.

But love-
Ellen Hamilton
I really liked Farley Mowat and his works. I mean, I still do, but my respect for the man himself has diminished. I thought this book was about how Farley met his wife, and about their love for the Newfoundland area, waters, and islands. The second part was true: most of the book recounts Farely's adventures and experiences on the islands in Eastern Canada, and the descriptions are so vividly explained, that it is a joy to read.

But I was mistaken about the first part. The love story is not about
Mike Parkes
Surprised how much I liked this one, which I picked up for my trip to Newfoundland. This was my first experience reading Mowat. I had this image in my head of a hectoring, egotistical blowhard, whom I might agree with on issues (his primary interest being wildlife protection), but still not necessarily want to read something by him. I was glad to see that he doesn’t write like that at all. Mowat’s writing here is very succinct and matter-of-fact.

Mowat describes his time sailing around the outpor
I enjoyed reading about places I've heard about but never seen, and with his attention to detail, Mr. Mowat really captured the places he visited. He gave tidbits of interesting history not to be found in mainstream accounts. He especially captured the dialects of the people he encountered. I could imagine myself skimming along in his boat with him. But the cheerful, laid-back journey took a dark twist here and there as he described the mindless, awful slaughter of sea creatures by men who butch ...more
R. H.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author’s self-indulgent and apparently aimless wanderings along Newfoundland’s remote coasts in the late 50’s and early 60’s leave flint-clear impressions of the unique outport communities, local history and industry, weather, seas, animals and birds, navigation hazards, the foibles of various boats, and a shakespearean cast of characters. Left in the murky background of these love-soaked voyages with a younger woman is the devastation that must have accompanied the seemingly abrupt abandonm ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I couldn’t get into The Boat That Wouldn’t Float, but Bay of Spirits entranced me. I was entranced by Farley and Claire Mowat’s descriptions and their obvious love of Newfoundland. Though most of the book focuses on the Southwest coast, I feel I’ve gained a familiarity than will ring true when I visit Eastern Newfoundland next month.
Thank you Mowats.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Another great story from a master story-teller, this one subtitled "A Love Story". It's the story of his first meeting with a beautiful woman named Claire and how their feelings for each other developed, but it is another love story too, of his years living in and exploring the outports of Newfoundland. His appreciation for the people, waters and wildlife of Newfoundland bring this story to vivid life.

Farley Mowat can capture the flavour of a place and it's people beautifully. A picture may to b
Ethan Perri
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Makes me want to explore the fjords of Newfoundland and Labrador by boat!
S. K. Pentecost
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to think I knew how to cuss. Newfies in the 60's knew how to cuss. A different time. ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good story ....
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Gordon Jones
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never read a book written by celebrated Canadian author and environmentalist Farley Mowat. When he died this past May at the age of 92, I, like many other Canadians, decided it was time to correct that. Bay of Spirits is now the third book of his that I have now read.

There are three, maybe even four, stories running through this book. The first, as the title, Bay of Spirits, A Love Story, indicates, is a love story. Although already married, when he meets Claire for the first time in St. P
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book about the people of Newfoundland's outports mid century told through the experience of a prolific author. Mowat makes the lives he describes about as interesting as can be... which isn't very. The peoples of the region were just above subsistence fishermen and did not create a society that produced anything that contributed to mankind or much to human history. Peoples who lived on the edge of civilization, barely survived and mostly lived as feudal serfs to their upper class or on the dole. ...more
Apr 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book! Farley Mowat buys a boat and tours the "outports"--coastal fishing villages--of Newfoundland for many summers during the 1960s. It's sad to realize now that the way of life of the outports is almost vanished--thanks to Canadian premier Joey Smallwood who decided it would be better to "centralize" Canadians and insisted on making the outport folk MOVE from their homes to larger towns nearby. The subtitle of the book is "A Love Story" because early on Farley meets a young woma ...more
Rusty Wright
The book was ok, but not great. This book discolored my opinion of Farley Mowat because in this autobiography he meets a woman and they live together while he has apparently abandoned his wife and children while he goes off and has this adventure on the east coast with this other woman.
An eloquent and moving memoir -- which clearly paints the love Mowat has for the hardscrabble fishermen of Newfoundland and the pain he feels at the death of the natural world that accompanies fishing activities.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
...just way too much minutae and detail about the coast of Newfoundland. I can deal with only so many difficult dockings, so much rock, shoals, ......bleah. A huge disappointment after Born Naked.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it is a great portrait of Outport newfoundland in the 60's ...more
Nikki Sitch
Jun 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A love story? What about his wife who was cast aside so he could have an affair. His adultery was ignored. I could not stand this book or him - self-centered and arrogant.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this and made me want to sail the south shore of Newfoundland.
Joel Clements
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
A love story on many levels ... of Farley's love of Newfoundland, of the sea, of Claire. And a strong indictment of humans, and our disrespect of the creatures with which we share this planet. ...more
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved learning about the usual lives of the Newfoundland people. Mowat's inclusion of his own experiences and his love story added a personal touch. ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: Jem
Haven't finished this one; got off track and got too busy to read for a bit. :( Hope to pick this back up again later and get to the end. :) ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking for more books set in Newfoundland, I found this and liked this more than I thought I would.
Sweet story. I was enthralled by his descriptions of the places and people
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Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.

Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.

Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outrage

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