When I was in Toronto a couple of years ago, I actually met and had a couple beers with Michael Crummey when Galore was nominated for the Governor General’s Award. (I know, to American ears it sounds something like “The President’s Literary Award of Honor,” but it’s pretty much the equivalent of being shortlisted for the National Book Award over here.)
I was impressed enough to buy a copy of Galore up in Canada, and now I’m pleased to see that Other Press has published a U.S. edition. To mark the occasion, Michael Crummey has a post up at The Millions on his book:
Galore opens in the mists of early European settlement in Newfoundland when a group of starving fishermen butcher a beached whale and discover a man in the creature’s belly. The man is alive—pale, mute and stinking to high heaven—but alive. And the book gets a little nuttier from there.
Even those publishers who liked the novel saw little upside in terms of marketing and sales, and it was hard to argue with their reservations when they passed. I had almost given up on publishing in the States when Galore found its way to a young editor at Other Press who forced everyone in-house to read and, at the very least pretend, to love it. She’s been out there ever since, like some Ancient Mariner, haranguing strangers with the bizarre story, God bless her.
coverHer admiration for the book made me actively wish to never disappoint her. But in a discussion with my publicist about feuds in literature (there’s plenty of that in Galore as well), I innocently admitted I had never cracked the cover of Moby-Dick. News travelled. My editor wrote to let me know she is a Melville devotee. A hardcore devotee.
Apparently being from New Hampshire goes some way to explaining this. Regardless, I had clearly dropped a notch or two in her estimation.