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Publisher's Summary

FINALIST FOR THE 2019 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE WINNER OF THE 2020 THOMAS RADDALL ATLANTIC FICTION AWARD
NATIONAL BEST SELLER
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY The Globe and Mail • CBC • Toronto Star • Maclean's 

"Crummey's novel has the capacity to change the way the reader sees the world." (Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation) 

From best-selling, award-winning author Michael Crummey comes a sweeping, heart-wrenching, deeply immersive novel about a brother and sister alone in a small world.

A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family's boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them. 

As they fight for their own survival through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.

This novel is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.

©2019 Michael Crummey (P)2019 Doubleday Canada

What the critics say

"A gripping and credible page-turner about children surviving in the wilderness, but more than that: this Adam and Eve struggle to make sense of a world that's somewhere between Eden and Hell. Michael Crummey writes like an avenging angel, never putting a word wrong."  (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)

"Michael Crummey's The Innocents is a dazzling and myriad achievement. Set against the unforgiving Newfoundland frontier, this harrowing tale of two siblings eking out a teetering existence is difficult to witness and impossible to put down.  But what makes this story timeless is Crummey's rich depiction of the human heart in extremis, the unflagging beat of life in a world that is too much to bear. Set aside whatever you're reading and pick this up - The Innocents is a masterpiece." (Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek)

"Michael Crummey's new novel The Innocents is a fantastic read. Written in graceful and evocative prose, Ada and Evered's story blurs the boundary between the quotidian and the strange until it becomes a meditation on the curious fact of existence itself. A wonderfully provocative and insightful book." (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds and A Shout in the Ruins)

What listeners say about The Innocents

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  • Overall
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Dark and honest portrayal of old Newfoundland

Hard to put down as I gritted my teeth at what would become of Ada and Everett.

1 person found this helpful

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poignant

Great book. 4.5 overall. I enjoyed the imagery and story. Poignant. I was immersed in a landscape and era unfamiliar to me.

1 person found this helpful

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I couldn’t imagine such a small beginning finding enough action or excitement to keep me returning.t

This was my first ‘ go round ‘ with Mr.M Crummey. What I didn’t see coming was, the raw emotions that ran through this brother and sister. Quite often I would be taken back by the isolation and having no impact by those things we consider normal. It’s sister’ assumption that you are either born knowing how to read, or not. It was the little things, I would never see in another story such as this. I reasoned that it was the combination of extreme isolation and the lack of parental vision that left them with such merger tools to help them, not simple to survive, but to strive. I saw this when they had the occasion to be around other people. I felt hopeful, that this rub with the world would leave them wanting more. It was our most basic, and natural need for connection, driven by unavoidable hormones that pushed them beyond their individual experiences. That two young siblings, left to live or die in such harsh surroundings, with so few opportunities to glean knowledge
From those older, and wiser, left me angry during much of my reading. It was those few opportunities that did come their way, where brother learned to use his father’s gun. I was elated! Finally, some good fortune came their way. I kept hoping there would be more of that for them. I felt these two innocent beings needed to be rescued. Of course being rescued from this life of toil and survival would obliterate what I believed Mr. Michael Crummey story was about.
It is a worthwhile read, one that kept be coming back. Even more importantly it made me step outside the box. What an experience, to find a writer thinking outside the predictable, or give his audience the endings we clammer for.
How could I almost forget about Ms Mary Lewis’s rendition of this book?Had it not been for the life you poured upon these words, I have no doubts that I would have pulled the plug on this amazing story. Thank you for the many persons you became during this book. You were so believable. You have the rare gift of being able to inject the emotions that have to stand out in a story such as this. It was a privilege to hear you read this odd book packed with dynamite.

Thank you;

Colleen Huber

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Wonderful

I read this book a couple of years ago and loved it. My book club is discussing it this week so I decided I'd refresh my memory by listening. Mary Lewis is absolutely spectacular as a narrator.

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  • 2021-03-24

Stellar Storytelling

What a good read! East Coast nuggets of quaint beauty dropped throughout a riveting, somewhat disturbing tale. I binged the entire book. Narration was on point!

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slow but interesting

the narrator was amazing! the story was a slow burn but I really enjoyed it.

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Honest and tragic, beautifully read and written

An absolutely fantastic performance by the reader. A book written with such honesty and kept true to the nature of the circumstances. I would happily recommend

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Michael Crummey delivers again!

This story of survival delves so deep into human nature that it spares nothing to sensibilities.

Heartbreaking alarming and hopeful, this story took me on an adventure I will remember.

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Great read

Fascinating story a must read. Terrific narrator, I loved the story but would have liked it to continue a little further.

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Disturbing bits

Unique characters. And the isolation and disconnection was felt in the story. And some surprising elements as well. Well worth the read... or listen.