Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
The Innocents
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
From bestselling, award-winning author Michael Crummey comes a sweeping, heart-wrenching, deeply immersive novel about a brother and sister alone in a small world. A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family's boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them. As they fight for their own survival through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested. This novel is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
review
Tamra
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

Engrossing coming of age story of orphaned siblings in unusual and harsh circumstances. I can‘t say it was too long, but it strikes me now that it may have been more powerful as a novella. Some of the interludes were a bit of a distraction from the main thrust of the storyline.

This is not going to appeal to everyone and may even be offensive, but I do think it works in the context of the relative innocence.

Tamra The one criticism I have is the predictability of the pregnancy and birth defect, neither of which of course is guaranteed. 2w
Cathythoughts I‘m going to try a sample on kindle 👍🏻❤️ 1w
73 likes2 comments
blurb
Tamra
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

Opposite atmosphere of my current read.

rabbitprincess Awww little pink nose 💕🐱 2w
GypsyKat Love this picture! ❤️ 2w
Leftcoastzen Cute!😻 2w
See All 6 Comments
alisonrose That is one comfy kitty ☺️💗 2w
LeahBergen Wow. That‘s comfy. 😂😂 2w
CoverToCoverGirl Spoiled much?! Lol 🐾 2w
79 likes6 comments
blurb
Tamra
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

I read the first short chapter last night and it had all the hallmarks of a novel I may love! I flipped to the back flap and immediately knew why - Crummey is also a poet. Plus he lives in a place where setting/environment is likely to figure prominently in his work. Yea!! This is my first Crummey and I hope the beginning of a beautiful relationship. 😉

I don‘t always read the flaps before diving in.

Suet624 I love it too when poets write novels. 2w
KatieB I read this book several months ago and I still think about it often. Enjoy (if that‘s the right word!)! 2w
53 likes2 comments
blurb
Tamra
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

Sniff testing the new library book...

HKGirl I may or may not do that myself 😂 2w
readordierachel That's how you know it's good! 2w
Tamra @HKGirl 😉😉 2w
Tamra @readordierachel there is some truth in that. 😆 2w
79 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
This post contains spoilers
show me
post image
Mehso-so

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 I could see headed to sex from near the beginning.⤵️

ReadingEnvy 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 he finally had to write their story.⤵️ 2w
ReadingEnvy .
The thing is, I felt that so much of the story 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? ⤵️
2w
ReadingEnvy 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.
2w
See All 15 Comments
Redwritinghood I just finished this a few days ago myself and agree with you. I was also conflicted about how to rate it. I wound up making it a pick based on the strength of the writing. 2w
ReadingEnvy @Redwritinghood it‘s so hard... I think it was the unanswered questions that led me closer to three stars. Like I find incest unnecessary but if the rest of it had resolved maybe I‘d feel better about it, I am not sure. It‘s funny because I‘m not sure the author is even a fan, he just couldn‘t get it out of his head. 2w
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Do you mean you aren‘t sure if the author is a fan of incest? Because the answer is no. He isn‘t. He wrote about a true historical event —a tragedy —with such compassion that I felt deeply moved by the plight of this brother and sister. 6d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Crummey has written about the Indigenous people of Newfoundland, the Beothuk, in an earlier novel. The last Beothuk died in the early 19th century. Some Inuit and Mi‘kmaq people also move through the area but the signs found by the siblings were from an extinct group. 6d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy no, I was referring to an interview I listened to where the author seemed to express some doubt about the book itself. Maybe it was a weird humility thing. It was clear he couldn't get the story out of his head unless he wrote it. Incest aside, I feel my other critiques of the unfinished plotpoints are valid. 6d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy ah interesting thanks 6d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Regarding the situation that landed the parents there in the first place, I believe that was answered by the story of the two brothers who fought over a woman, one killing the other. I believe the grave that the mother visits is that of her husband‘s brother. The debt is for supplies for living, meager as they are. Independent fishers and farmers still don‘t get paid anywhere near what their work is worth. 6d
Lindy I‘ve heard Crummey talk about this book several times, in interviews and at the VWF. While he expressed discomfort with addressing the topic of incest in this novel, he said he had been haunted by the historical facts. I think he did a good job of exploring what might happen to children who go through puberty without adult guidance. 6d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy I forgot to say that Crummey is indeed very humble and shy. 6d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy I think I would have been more satisfied by more of that backstory. I don't think they come from that area. Do you know if there were a lot of people like their parents, set up in an outpost to process fish on their own? I know about the fur trade quite well from Oregon history but not this. Even the captain of the ship who comes in once a year seemed skeptical they could do it on their own, making me wonder whose idea it was to begin with. 6d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy There used to be hundreds of tiny fishing settlements in Newfoundland, places reached only by sea. (Crummey wrote about resettlement of one in Sweetland; Emma Hooper & Kathleen Winter have also used them as settings for novels.) It isn‘t a stretch to my imagination to picture a couple hiding from murder or social censure to live apart from one of these tiny communities, while continuing with the same kind of subsistence outport life. 6d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy nodding.. yes... I know of these villages but that always felt like the bare minimum to support basic needs. One family alone is pretty rough (as Crummey shows) 6d
5 likes15 comments
review
Redwritinghood
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

This story of two children orphaned and alone trying to survive on the coast of Newfoundland left me a little conflicted. The writing was gorgeous and the story both sad and a testament to a will to survive. The story, however, left me a bit bored at times. The author‘s main objective seemed to be a description of the sexual tension between the siblings, but he was vague on it most of the time. Unfortunately, the rest just felt like filler. 3.5⭐️

Tamra I ordered earlier today via interlibrary. 🤞🏾 2w
BarbaraBB That cover 😍. I hope the book is just as good! 2w
65 likes2 comments
blurb
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

I've tagged my favourite Canadian novel of 2019 for this post about my 2019 #readingstats. 36% of the books I read were written by #CanadianAuthors.

LeahBergen That‘s great! 👏🏻👏🏻 3w
Lindy @LeahBergen 🇨🇦😁 3w
MayJasper 👏👏👏👍 3w
See All 10 Comments
Lindy @MayJasper 🇨🇦👍Nice to see you active on Litsy (edited) 3w
MayJasper Thank you so much @Lindy how's things with you? 3w
Lindy @MayJasper I was missing from Litsy for a while in December during the early stages of recovery from a concussion. Still have to take it easy, but I am so happy to be able to read again. 3w
MayJasper Thank goodness you are recovering. I am trying to get back into reading & Litsy. I have been devastated by the political choices of my country. 2w
Lindy @MayJasper I understand your devastation because I feel angry and sad about the new (since October) right-wing government in my province. Social supports, education, health and the environment are all under attack in Alberta. We‘ve hosted and attended potluck gatherings organized as morale boosters for similarly devastated and disillusioned citizens. 2w
MayJasper What wonderful things to do for other people. You are very kind 2w
Lindy @MayJasper It helps us feel better to be with like-minded people. Not everyone voted for those terrible politicians. 2w
55 likes3 stack adds10 comments
review
Kazzie
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
Pickpick

Best book of the year! Such a good story, very well written!

review
mcctrish
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

A coming of age story set 100+ years ago on the coast of Newfoundland. It‘s breathtaking and heartbreaking. Despite what the province of Ontario says about the value of education, this book proves how valuable it is ❤️I‘d be dead

39 likes2 stack adds
review
Redheadrambles
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The story of two orphaned siblings fighting for survival on the wild coast of Newfoundland. The plot is secondary to the 'extraordinary' relationship that develops between brother and sister.
Crummey writes beautifully of landscape, conveying in an economical and yet poetic style, the vastness and the drama of the local coastline.
A surprisingly terse ending is the only dent to an otherwise fascinating survival / coming-of-age story.

25 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
mcctrish
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

The countdown to Christmas just got real!

review
ClairesReads
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

The Innocents is an example of great storytelling. The real star of this novel, is the inhospitable Newfoundland Coast. Crummey brings this desolate environment to life, and it looms large in every moment; a force which perpetually threatens to overwhelm the innocence of Ada and Everedd. This novel isn‘t for the faint-hearted. It‘s challenging, and at times gruesomely direct but it‘s also absorbing.

28 likes1 stack add1 comment
quote
ClairesReads
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
blurb
ClairesReads
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

A gal tries e-Reading on a prehistoric iPad for book club #indiebuddyreads

Cinfhen Seems to be working 😁 2mo
ClairesReads @Cinfhen it‘s worked enough, even though it‘s about 3 software updates behind 😬 2mo
Cinfhen Ha!! What we don‘t do for bookclub 2mo
See All 9 Comments
RachelO Love that cover! 2mo
ClairesReads @RachelO it‘s lovely isn‘t it? 2mo
Redheadrambles What a superstar ! I am like two smallish books away from starting:) 2mo
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles interested to hear what you make of this one. I‘m still a bit uncertain about bothering with 2mo
Redheadrambles I am loving it ! Literally cannot put it down. The Shadow King, I may well use for read harder 2020 in some capacity? I need to at least give it one more chance. 2mo
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles oh yay I‘m glad you‘re loving it too! I‘m thinking about The Shadow King for read harder too 2mo
38 likes1 stack add9 comments
blurb
TheLibrarian
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

#bookmail - I also got The Secrets We Kept but the cover was very damaged. Currently missing the days when Amazon didn‘t make you send the book back and told you to keep it.

Lovesbooks87 If you have a Kohl‘s near by they do Amazon returns and send it back for free! 2mo
Cailey_Mac I really love the artwork of all the dust jackets together; it‘s beautiful! 2mo
TheLibrarian @Lovesbooks87 I saw that and choose that option. Although going to a department store during holiday shopping will make me super anxious. 2mo
Lovesbooks87 @TheLibrarian that‘s true I didn‘t even think about that. I always hit the stores when they first open it tends not to be so crazy! 2mo
72 likes4 comments
blurb
mcctrish
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

Starting today 🎉

kspenmoll Love your photo of simple holiday treasures. 🎄 2mo
mcctrish This is the miniature version of what I need to do. It‘s so much easier at this scale 🤣 2mo
43 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

I've tagged my favourite book of October but it was hard to choose one from among the 15 5-star reads of last month. My biggest surprise when I looked back on my stats is that I only read one graphic novel. Not sure how that happened. 🤷‍♀️

Megabooks Great month!! 3mo
Lindy @Megabooks Thanks. 😊 3mo
40 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
KatieB
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

I only picked this up because I'm going to attempt to read the #gillerprize short list but what a great book! I couldn't stop thinking about it between settings and, for someone with a terrible memory, I think this story is going to stay with me. Hoping the rest of the shortlist is just as good!

blurb
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

Notes on language that I kept while reading. ie Now the once. Dwy. Landwash. Bare-legged tea. Skerries. Douted. Rames. God‘s reeving nails. Bully boat. Wherry. Red jacks. Slobby ice. Buskins. Whitecoat. Kedger. Cuddy. Hello the house. Thewy. Raillery. Mauby. Tammy gown. Faffering. Qualmy. Keep your daddles clear of that pot. Roke. By the light of rotoil burning in a slutlamp. Moil. Mollyfodge. Bawn. Yaffles. Brin sack. Too bockity. I‘m best kind.

Suet624 Wow 4mo
Lindy @Suet624 I find vernacular language really adds to my experience. 4mo
LeahBergen This is why I love reading Newfoundland authors! 👏🏻 4mo
Lindy @LeahBergen 😁👍 4mo
39 likes4 comments
review
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

Ada & Evered* are children, 9 & 11, when their baby sister & parents die of illness. The two manage mostly on their own for several years in an isolated Newfoundland cove in the early 19th century. Cinematic descriptions, lots of archaic vernacular, the seasonal rhythms, and the immersion into both the outer & inner lives of this pair of siblings as they grow into adolescence—all of these made for a bewitching & meditative tale. *note Biblical ref

42 likes2 stack adds
blurb
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

I‘ve only read two of the shortlisted titles so far, but I‘m already hoping that Michael Crummey will be the winner. https://scotiabankgillerprize.ca/2019-finalists/

twohectobooks I just heard about The Innocents on CBC radio a couple of weeks ago and instantly added it to my TBR. Looks like it‘s up for the Governor General‘s award too! 4mo
40 likes1 comment
quote
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

As far as Ada could tell a mother‘s role was incidental at best, her body a passive vessel for the passing wildflower that was a child. The Virgin Mary had gotten her feet wet out picking berries and so fell pregnant with Jesus. It was a condition women caught like a fever or a cold, something that resulted from their own weakness or impudence. Something vaguely shameful.

quote
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

Sarah Best was half-asleep with her mouth to the newborn‘s downy crown and she glanced across at Ada without raising her head. “What should we call her?”
It hadn‘t occurred to Ada that a name was bestowed on a person and not something you were born with. The lack made the infant seem almost as naked and pitiable as when she first landed in Mary Oram‘s lap.

saresmoore Lindy, this photo. 😍 My uterus is getting all antsy! 4mo
Lindy @saresmoore 😊My relatives haven‘t consented to being on Litsy, so I will just say the baby‘s name: Summer. 4mo
saresmoore Beautiful! 4mo
Reggie What a special picture!! 4mo
Lindy @Reggie 😘 4mo
37 likes5 comments
quote
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

“He‘s got all the grace of a cow aboard of a dory,” another said. “The gangly old stilts on him. He‘ll never shit a seaman‘s turd, that one.”

quote
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

They picked the flesh from the conner‘s thorny backbone. It was just enough food to make them feel how hungry they were.

quote
Lindy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

She could talk the bark off a tree, their father said, a note of awed disbelief in his voice.

46 likes2 stack adds
review
Penny_LiteraryHoarders
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image
Pickpick

Classic Crummey - this is a quiet kind of novel but there's a feeling of urgency too. Between a 3.5 and a 4 star read for me.

blurb
Penny_LiteraryHoarders
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
post image

Getting a bunch of #CanLit reading in! Look there is that slight hint of Fall with the fallen leaf by the book. 🍂 Giller Prize Longlist is announced on Tuesday too!!

Penny_LiteraryHoarders The Giller announcement always signals the start of Fall and literary award season! 5mo
35 likes1 comment