Just finished reading The Shipping News. Great book.
It was recommended to me by a cousin I met recently in awesome Tasmania, that being an island off the main continent of Australia. Seems my cousin is fascinated by Newfoundland, that being an island off the coast of my continent.
Never thought that much about Newfoundland, although I did notice that all the Newfies I met in Toronto seemed to be lively types with a good sense of humour.
So I've been thinking about the island, and discussing it with a Toronto room mate of mine from a long standing Newfoundland family of Irish origin.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism ads are quite something, and my friend raves about the beauty of the land. But he calls the society "dysfunctional and fucked-up" and says he'll only go back for funerals. He talks about alcoholism, rampant sexual abuse and back stabbing. Blames the isolation, poverty and extreme conditions (oh, and the Catholic Church).
So which is it, the smiling people making wooden boats in the ads, or the haggard faces in David Blackwood's prints?
Not sure I care right at the moment, think I'll read some novels by Newfie writer Wayne Johnston and The Outport People by Claire Mowat, while I save some money to head out there myself. I sense something awesome right on my doorstep.