“Crummey’s gift is to write with compassion, imbuing the relationships with complexity and depth…The Wreckage shows with profound insight that nothing’s fair in love and war.”
“In The Wreckage, once again, Crummey offers a journey of stimulating moral inquiry, one of his fiction’s most admirable qualities. …When writing about Newfoundland, Crummey’s prose has … not only a vigorous directness but an enlivening specificity of detail.”
–The Globe and Mail
The Wreckage is a truly epic, yet twisted, romance that unfolds over decades and continents. It engages readers on the austere shores of Newfoundland’s fishing villages and drags them across to Japanese POW camps during some of the worst events of the Second World War.
At the onset of the Second World War, Wish Furey travels the coast of Newfoundland, screening Hollywood films in church and fishermen’s halls. In a remote Protestant outport the young Catholic begins an intense affair with Sadie Parsons, a recklessly independent sixteen-year-old. Driven from the Cove by the disapproval of locals and the ruthless prejudice of Sadie’s mother, Wish enlists in the British army and, after the fall of Saigon, suffers through the brutality and deprivation of a Japanese POW camp. Turning her back on her family and community, Sadie settles into wartime St. John’s to wait for him, until word reaches her that Wish is dead.
Fifty years later, Sadie returns home for the first time since leaving Newfoundland. She arrives to scatter her husband’s ashes and to face the past–a past that will come to meet her in a way she never imagined. Masterfully crafted, The Wreckage is both compulsively readable and a penetrating study of the reach and limits of love, the depths of human hatred, and the ultimate impossibility of knowing another or oneself.
“The Wreckage is, if anything, even better than River Thieves. Stylistically complex, morally dense and rich with the blood and pulp of life, it’s a novel to be not so much read as experienced. …This moral ambiguity and the densely woven complexity of hard truths and bitter but necessary awakenings lend The Wreckage much of its power and resonance….If there’s a better Canadian novel published this year, I’ll be amazed.”
“Crummey is a superb storyteller… His own prose is smooth and cohesive and even lyrical when he describes the landscapes he so clearly loves. The narrative style is one that moves easily from one time period to another, weaving backward and forward seamlessly and constantly keeping the reader enthralled.”
–Winnipeg Free Press
“[W]hat the reader will remember most are the brilliantly written Second World War scenes. As the images that Crummey so vividly conjures up return to mind at the end of the novel, the subtleties of the story deepen even further. The novel will probably be compared to Shirley Hazzard’s [National Book Award-winning] The Great Fire. … The comparison does credit to both authors.”
–Quill & Quire
Doubleday Canada, Fall 2005 (lead title)
De Geus, The Netherlands
Wiatr od Morza, Poland
Longlisted for the IMPAC award
Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers Trust Award
A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year