Booklist Does Blackstrap, First US Review
-Booklist, November, 2009
Harvey, Kenneth J. (Author)
Nov 2009. 840 p. IPG/Harvill Seeker,
hardcover, $24.95. (9781846551543).
Harvey’s searing narrative encapsulates the brutal,
majestic history of Newfoundland by outlining the
events and experiences that shaped the characteristically
dismal history of the extended Hawco family.
Stretching back and forth through time as Blackstrap
details the often painful exploits and ordeals suffered
by the Hawco clan during the twentieth century, the
hapless narrator serves as both a pitiable victim of his
hardscrabble working-class circumstances and as a
noble symbol of endurance and tenacity.
Starkly elegant, the author’s prose mirrors the
desolate magnificence of the island itself. After years
of being overshadowed by its culturally overpowering
neighbor to the south, Canadian literature is finally coming
into its own and savvy readers are sitting up and taking
notice of writers like Harvey who mine uniquely
Canadian experiences to tremendous effect.