I finally gave up this morning on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by a famous and much-loved Canadian author.  I got all the way to page 88 before anything exciting enough happened to remember I’d tried to read it once before.

It’s down (with my apologies to the author) and Donna Morrissey’s book, What They Wanted is up.

So well written in first person I feel I’m back in Newfoundland in 1989 … asking directions from a long, thin old man in brown tweeds, wearing a plaid and brimmed worsted cap, leaning against a bridge astride his bike, pant legs tucked into hand-knitted woolen socks,  smoking a pipe, his patois so thick, if he hadn’t pointed the way with the stem of that pipe, I might still be roaming the Avalon Region trying to find my way back to St. John’s.

In the first five pages
I’ve met the extended family, vividly seen where they live, watched in horror as Father used a chain saw to cut their house in half so’s it’ll float through the channel of the neck, then load the two halves onto separate rings of steel drums and float them 40 miles up the bay.  I saw the split-apart house reach it’s new location in the small outport of Hampden and specifically a salt-bitten wharf, where “… within a relatively short time the two halves of the house were hoisted off the steel drums and sitting on top of the wharf looking like one again.”

In the first line
I learned that the family is in their “… last days in Cooney Arm, the sea dying around us and taking Father’s spirit with it.”

In the first paragraph
I know that Father is despressed having stayed long after his brothers and the others left, “… netting cod, netting salmon, spearing flatfish, hauling crab-pots, trapping eels and rabbits, hunting seals and turrs and bull birds, and landing capelin and squid and all else the sea hove at him.”

And that’s just the Prologue!