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michael crummey, galore

“They were practical and serious and outlandishly foreign. They described the deathly ill as wonderful sick. Anything brittle or fragile or tender was nish, anything out of plumb or uneven was asquish. They called the Adam’s apple a kinkorn, referred to the Devil as Horn Man. They’d once showed the doctor a scarred vellum copy of the Bible that Jabez Trim had cut from a cod’s stomach nearly a century past, a relic so singular and strange that Newman asked to see it whenever he visited, leafing through the pages with a kind of secular awe.”

This is from the start of the second part of Galore, where Crummey introduces Dr. Newman, an outsider to the Newfoundland fishing community he’s spent the first part cataloguing through several generations. It seems to signal a shift in perspective, stepping out of the magical-realist family chronicle that’s preceded by giving the reader a fresh outsiders’ perspective on these towns. But this is about as far as that shift goes: Newman winds up married into one of the feuding families, and we recommence our trek through the generations.

Other Press 03.29.11



April 04, 2011, 12:48pm   Comments

winslow continued

"Of course, most Americans are.

Savages.

And this is what most Americans don’t understand — that most upper- to middle-crust Mexicans think that Americans are uncivilized, unsophisticated, uncultured, rambunctious rustics who just got on a lucky streak back in the 1840s and rode it to steal half of Mexico.”

And like “chronic” earlier, one of the things Winslow does well (amidst the free-verse typography and the internet acronyms and the puns) is open up his concepts, his vocabulary, and the term from his title is the key example. All the characters he gives us are savages; this is a California noir caper about drug dealing. But they are all convinced that everyone but them are the savages. And they’re all savages in different ways. 



July 28, 2010, 11:16am   Comments