The Sunday Magazine

Michael Crummey on Sweetland

Moses Sweetland is as stubborn as a mule. A useful trait in a man who lives on a remote island off the south coast of Newfoundland. But not so useful when it pits him against his family, and everyone else in his tiny community. Resettlement is in the air. The government will pay good money to move the community off...
Moses Sweetland is as stubborn as a mule. A useful trait in a man who lives on a remote island off the south coast of Newfoundland. But not so useful when it pits him against his family, and everyone else in his tiny community. Resettlement is in the air. The government will pay good money to move the community off the island. But only if everyone agrees. And Moses Sweetland,  the central character in the latest book by the award-winning Newfoundland novelist and poet  Michael Crummey, won't budge. 

Sweetland is Crummey's fourth novel, and it explores the conundrum that confronts sparsely populated outport communities in the province - the prospect of a life full of both hardship and cultural tradition, versus a more comfortable life on the mainland but one with less history and community. 

And it echoes the real-life experience of many Newfoundlanders. 

In 1954, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador began "resettling" outport communities. Over the next 20 years, 30,000 people were uprooted and 300 small communities abandoned. 

Resettlement looms on the horizon again and Sweetland resonates with that current reality. 
 
Michael Crummey spoke about Sweetland with guest host Karin Wells. 

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