Galore opens sometime in the past in rural Newfoundland. It is hard times and the locals are respectfully waiting for a whale to die before they butcher it. Devine's Widow slices open the belly and a naked man falls out. As they carry him to the graveyard, he suddenly awakes. Unknown to any of them, he cannot tell them who he is, as he is mute. They christen him Judah and his life is inevitably woven into the tapestry, lives and memories of the people of Paradise Deep.
Paradise Deep is an isolated fishing port, insulated from the rest of the country by geography and tradition. Populated by characters both unusual, yet captivating, Galore is a mesmerizing read. It traces the intertwined lives of the residents through many generations. There is a magical feel to the book. Devine's Widow placed a curse many years ago on King-Me Sellers and his descendants. She is feared, yet revered by many. The fact that it is she who takes in Judah further builds her legend. Galore is the story of these two families and their descendants.
There are supernatural elements introduced, many taken from Newfoundland folklore and legends that Crummey discovered while researching his book. Baptism by passing a child through the branches of an ancient apple tree, a ghost who is seen by many but refuses to leave, superstitions and traditions that are accepted as part of their lives.
Dr. Newman, an American who comes to Paradise Deep "felt at times he'd been transported to a medieval world that was still half fairy tale."
But it is also the story of a rugged land and the resilient people who populate it. Politics and the formation of a fisheries union bring the world to Paradise Deep in the second half of of the book. But the past and history of the Rock is always there, coming full circle by the last page.
Crummey himself is Newfoundland born and bred and his voice captures the tone and timbre of a land and it's people.
I was quite sad to turn the last page. I had become completely caught up in Galore.
This was the first of Crummey's books that I had read and it definitely won't be the last. Highly recommended.