A Transcomposite Narrative

Harvill Secker


Random House

"BLACKSTRAP HAWCO is a story of Newfoundland from its beginnings to its present, and stretching forward to its future. The intensely physical lives of Blackstrap Hawco and his people are as vivid as the blood they spill. The book is gripping and painful but redeemed by love. Kenneth J. Harvey demonstrates the pulse of what it means to be alive."
-Alistair MacLeod, author of No Great Mischief

828 pages, Hardcover

Publisher's Description:
Fifteen years in the making, this book is the one Canada’s “heavyweight champ of brash and beautiful literature” was meant to write. An epic masterwork about Newfoundland’s working class, Blackstrap Hawco spans more than a century in gorgeous and widely varied prose, reminding us that even when writing about the degradation of identity and language, Harvey does it magnificently.

Named in a moment of anger, raised to endure the tragedy of a people and culture coming undone, Blackstrap Hawco is heir to an island dominion subsumed, picked over and set adrift by its adoptive nation.

As the end of the twentieth century nears, the Hawco family's bloodlines have grown tainted and confused. Men fail their families through enforced idleness, and the once-vivid ghosts of their ancestors have slipped into murk, forgotten along with the rest of history.

Blackstrap Hawco is a defiant man born with little more than a body and spirit that refuse to give up, and the menacing strength of pride. For the Hawcos of Newfoundland, was it not ever so?

From the arrivals of the indentured Irish to the Victorian drawing rooms of the English merchants, from the perilous adventures of the seal hunt to the raucous iron ore mines, from a notorious disaster at sea to the relocation of outport communities, the Hawco story might be all the family has left. But as "Blackstrap Hawco" - a narrative that will consume you in its dazzling swirl of voices, legends and beautiful hearsay - testifies, a story this haunting, this powerful, might just be enough.


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