In the vein of Erik Larson’s Isaac’s Storm and Dead Wake comes an incredible true story of destruction and survival in Newfoundland by one of Canada’s best-known writers
On November 18, 1929, a tsunami struck Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula. Giant waves, up to three storeys high, hit the coast at a hundred kilometres per hour, flooding dozens of communities and washing entire houses out to sea. The most destructive earthquake-related event in Newfoundland’s history, the disaster killed twenty-eight people and left hundreds more homeless or destitute. It took days for the outside world to find out about the death and damage caused by the tsunami, which forever changed the lives of the inhabitants of the fishing outports along the Burin Peninsula.
Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning writer Linden MacIntyre was born near St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, one of the villages virtually destroyed by the tsunami. By the time of his birth, the cod-fishing industry lay in ruins and the village had become a mining town. MacIntyre’s father, lured from Cape Breton to Newfoundland by a steady salary, worked in St. Lawrence in an underground mine that was later found to be radioactive. Hundreds of miners would die; hundreds more would struggle through shortened lives profoundly compromised by lung diseases ranging from silicosis and bronchitis to cancer. As MacIntyre says, though the tsunami killed twenty-eight people in 1929, it would claim hundreds if not thousands more lives in the decades to follow. And by the time the village returned to its roots and set up as a cod fishery once again, the stocks in the Grand Banks had plummeted and St. Lawrence found itself once again on the brink of disaster.
Written in MacIntyre’s trademark style, The Wake is a major new work by one of this country’s top writers.
“For generations, the hardy citizens of Newfoundland’s southern shore, where Linden MacIntyre was born, have met unfathomable loss and hardship with enduring bravery. MacIntyre’s deep and abiding compassion for these people shines through in this masterful work.”
“MacIntyre is a fine writer.”
“Great, soulful storytelling. All of Linden MacIntyre’s singular capacities—as novelist, reporter, social critic, and intimate chronicler of Atlantic Canada—are in full force-of-nature in The Wake.”
“MacIntyre is a masterful storyteller.”
“MacIntyre’s novelistic style and the stories of men, dogs, work, mining, liquor, church, politics, and fate are reminiscent of No Great Mischief, by another Cape Bretoner, Alistair MacLeod.”
“MacIntyre is a superb writer, and his book’s two major set pieces . . . have moments of heart-stopping narrative . . . Yet it’s the subtle, nuanced intertwining of family and larger story that gives The Wake its power.”
“Fast-paced and near-unstoppable, The Wake is the kind of book you can’t put down. Linden MacIntyre’s relentless voice just won’t let you stop reading, deftly showing how man and nature stacked the dice against the people of small-town Newfoundland.”
“MacIntyre isn’t just another face and larynx from television [but] an honest-to-God writer.”
“Beautifully written, both descriptively and analytically precise, and a significant contribution.”
“MacIntyre can build suspense from thin air.”