Duncan Noble
Duncan Noble asked:

At one point in the book, it uses a different spelling "Swietlund" for the main character's name in a newspaper clipping about the Sri Lankan boat people rescue. How do you interpret this different spelling?

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Cathy Lind When a reporter asked him for the spelling of his name this is what he gave him. I interpreted that to mean he didn't want to give anything to an outsider including his name. I know people like this.
Suzie Langdon
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Doug From: https://www.torontoreviewofbooks.com/...

"The gap in understanding between Newfoundland and mainland readers was reaffirmed for me in the Globe and Mail’s sympathetic review. The reviewer unknowingly reproduced as true a half-funny, half-aggressive lie Moses Sweetland tells a visiting journalist, hungry for a bit of local colour. Moses often lies when confronted by authorities from outside his community. He tells the prying journalist that his name is “Swietlund” and that he’s descended from an ancient family of Swedish settlers. His Swedish ancestry never comes up again, but it would if it were true. Newfoundland is one of the most culturally and genetically homogenous communities in North America, and most of it was settled almost exclusively by people from a small corner of south-eastern Ireland and another small corner of south-western England. A Swedish ancestry would be remarkable and remarked upon. The name “Sweetland,” however, is common in the tiny corner of England from which Newfoundland settlers came, and every linguistic and cultural clue Moses Sweetland gives suggests he is of English West Country extraction. A Newfoundland reader trained to perceive such clues would immediately recognize Sweetland’s fib for what it is—an outrageous whopper told to a credulous outsider. But without this understanding, his lie becomes completely believable—especially if you’re not aware that the Vikings left Newfoundland almost as soon as they got there, and that the current European-derived culture is entirely unrelated to them. (Don’t be fooled by the tourism ads!)
It’s a little thing, this moment of misunderstanding, but it’s a reminder that even sympathetic outsiders remain outsiders—and that most Canadians are outsiders, when it comes to Newfoundland. Language and communication work differently on and off the island, and most Canadians know very little about the traditional Newfoundland culture that’s dying. It’s a foreign culture, just as it was before 1949."
D.N. Robertson I'm with many of the others, he was doing it intentionally to make the reporters look stupid. They were on the island of "Sweetland" for heaven's sake, so they should know how to spell the name. I think it's his way of giving them the middle finger, so to speak.
Miriam I had assumed that he was pulling her leg and she was having problems with his accent. Phonetically (in Newfoundland) Sweetland is likely Swietlund. Since the name of the village and/or Island was Sweetland, it was a silly to have him spell his name.
Marjorie Campbell As a piss take - Sweetland is making fun of a mainland journalist by doing this.
Megan I figure the reporter made a spelling error. It happens all the time.
Sheene, maybe poking a bit of fun yes, but also Swietlund not necessarily Swedish just b'c it starts with a Sw... this type of spelling is also common in Germany/Poland. The w sounding Sv.. and the u made me wonder as well... lund (grundstuck is property/ground/land) might be a stretch, but that's how I pronounced it in my head, Svietlund.. fun never-the-less!
Charlotte It was the spelling he gave the reporter!
Myrtle Siebert When I was completing my genealogy I learned that my maiden name, Forberg, was typically Norwegian because of the 'e' instead of an 'a' as in my friend's name which was Swedish. No spelling error here, a truly Swedish name.
Duncan Noble Thanks Cathy, Suzie and Megan for your answers to my first question on goodreads. It doesn't appear to be a spelling error. After Cathy and Suzie responded, I went back to the book and found this passage, which confirms their answers:

Sweetland was poisoned with the whole affair and wished they’d all fuck off home out of it, leave him and the island alone. But everyone wanted to hear his version of events and hunted him down to pose the same half-dozen questions. All of them asking him to spell his name, for accuracy’s sake. Sweetland, he’d say as they bent their heads over their notebooks, S-w-i-e-t-l-u-n-d.
They glanced up and he shrugged. It’s an old Swedish name, he said.

Crummey, Michael (2014-08-19). Sweetland (Kindle Locations 1814-1818). Doubleday Canada. Kindle Edition.

I only have the Kindle edition, without page numbers. This is around location 1800 of 4720, i.e., about 38% into the book.
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by Michael Crummey (Goodreads Author)
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