Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > The Innocents

The Innocents by Michael Crummey
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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 traveling minister encountered an isolated sibling set and the girl was pregnant; the minister condemned them but it stuck with Crummey until he finally had to write their story.

The thing is, I felt that so much of the novel is in service to their eventual union that other questions go unanswered. What was the situation that landed their parents there in the first place? Why aren't there more people in the same situation? Why do they never journey to the town they know of down the river? Did the pelts pay off the debt? Where did the debt come from? Why don't they encounter any indigenous people when there is evidence of them? Why was the mother anti religion? I would feel a little more generous toward the central storyline if these other pieces were tied up or explained.

This novel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize but I'd recommend one of his other novels first. I had a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss and it came out back in November.
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Reading Progress

January 3, 2020 – Started Reading
January 3, 2020 – Shelved
January 3, 2020 –
15.0%
January 6, 2020 –
85.0%
January 6, 2020 –
99.0%
January 6, 2020 – Finished Reading
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: location-canada
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: location-canada-newfoundland-labrad
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: cold-weather-islands
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: ebooks
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: reviewcopy
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: read-across-canada
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: giller-prize-winners-and-listed
January 8, 2020 – Shelved as: read2020

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