BOOK CLUB – Galore by Michael Crummey

Welcome to BOOK CLUB, which I run with co-conspirator Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. Today we will be chatting about Galore by Michael Crummey, which was released at the end of March from Other Press (websitetwitterfacebook). For those of you reading this post, please remember that this discussion is likely to contain spoilers.

Here is the synopsis of the book I wrote for my review:

Paradise Deep and Gut are insular, isolated Newfoundland communities. Theirs is a hardscrabble life where nothing much changes, in many of the families one generation seems largely interchangeable with another, a constant cycle of birth and death, and birth again. But then, a whale washes ashore. A beached whale represents a bounty for a community that does not have the resources to catch more than cod, but when they slice open the whale’s stomach, a strangely pale man tumbles out. Named Judah due to a disagreement about whether it was Judas or Jonah who was swallowed by the whale in the Bible, the mute man is s subject of fear and wonder for the community by turns.

It is a bit difficult to say what Galore is about, because, at its heart, it is simply about the people of Gut and Paradise Deep. Even Jonah’s odd appearance – both in how he comes to the community and in how he looks – is not truly at the heart of this novel. Instead it is the people, the community as a whole, even.

Before we get started, here are some of the reviews of readers who will be participating today:

Caribou’s Mom
Devourer of Books

House of the Seven Tails
Indie Reader Houston
Linus’s Blanket
Picky Girl

If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page (please use the TOP subscription option, the second option will subscribe you only to replies of your own comments).  I will be updating this post with new questions and ideas over the course of the day.

Here we go…

  • First off, what were your general impressions of the book?
  • Is this a book you would have read had you not been reading it for a book club?
  • Judah was seen alternatively as a kind of curse or lucky charm for the community, did how he was seen by others change how you saw or felt towards him? How you felt towards the people around him?
  • It wasn’t until 30 odd pages into Book Two that I knew when Galore was set, when we were told that King-Me died sometime before the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The timeline became more clear towards the end of the novel, but until then seemed that it could have taken place almost any time. Do you think this was a conscious decision on the part of Crummey? Did it enhance or detract from the story for you?
  • Newman, the doctor, finds Newfoundland too fantastical to believe in when he is back in the states. Do you agree with his assessment? If so, was the land still believable to you while reading?
  • The end FASCINATED me. Thoughts? Opinions? Theories?
  • What kinds of questions did you have during your reading? Were they answered?
  • Do you have any other questions for the group?

Additional questions from Amy:

  • Has anyone read Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Do you think the comparisons between him and Crummey are valid? If so, in what ways?

12 review copies of Galore were provided by Other Press in order to facilitate this discussion.  Thank you!

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