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Bestselling Author Michael Crummey goes big in scope and dark as night with ‘The Adversary’

Station Blog2023-10-13By: Mark Wigmore


Author Michael Crummey is one of the most celebrated writers in this country. His titles over the years include River Thieves, The Wreckage, Galore, Sweetland, The Innocents, and the latest, The Adversary, which arrived in stores and online on September 26th, 2023.

Michael specializes in historical fiction that reveals the fascinating and surprising stories within Newfoundland and Labrador. He was born there, and grew up in Labrador. He took up and studied poetry at Memorial University in St. John’s, and started nearly 40 years of award-winning work.

After years in Kingston, Ontario, he returned to St John’s in 2001. A book of short stories led to his debut novel, River Thieves. It was a bestseller and shortlisted for multiple awards.

More novels, poetry, a stage play, and a short film poured out of Crummey in the years that followed. 2014’s Sweetland, was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award. It will soon be a major feature film.

In 2019, The Innocents, his story of young siblings left to fend for themselves on the rough Newfoundland coastal landscape, was not only a bestseller but a real conversation starter. It was shortlisted for for the Giller Prize.



His latest is The Adversary, and it once again takes us back into historical Newfoundland. This time, a ferocious contest between two competing captains of industry, centred in the isolated outport of Mockbeggar on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Here we meet the nasty piece of work that is mercantile baron Abe Strapp, and his nemesis, the Widow Caines. These two despise each other in ways only the imagination of Michael Crummey could conjure. While they carve up the Atlantic fishery in the name of destroying one another, we meet a vast collection of locals who succeed or fail based on this terrible personal battle. Church officials, fishermen, visiting captains and their crews, thieves, pirates, servants, and even the members of a successful brothel. With these two powers, their followers, families, and a wide collection of unforgettable characters, you can squint your brain to call this the Historical Newfoundland Game of Thrones.

It is vast in scope, an absolute page-turner, and arguably the most ambitious Michael Crummey project to date.

Michael Crummey visited Toronto for the International Festival of Authors and visited The New Classical FM studios for a conversation with The Oasis Host Mark Wigmore.

Listen below:


Learn more about The Adversary and purchase it at www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/258499/the-adversary-by-michael-crummey



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