Sunday 29 January 2012

New Under the Sun

Finished January 29
New Under the Sun by Kevin Major
I have to confess that this book didn't capture me. In fact, I had to force myself to finish it. As I told some colleagues at work, if it had been a library book I would have returned it, but since I bought it I felt compelled to complete it.
I did like it better near the end, but never loved it.
We have Shannon, a Newfoundland native who left as soon as she could and hasn't been back for 20 years. Shannon has made a career with Parks Canada and is back to write a proposal to add native elements to three Parks Canada sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. She makes contact with her aunt Bertha, and has a visit from her sister and a university friend from Norway. Shannon doesn't seem to know where she is going, she isn't entirely comfortable with any of her visitors or her family beyond Bertha. Will she stay in Newfoundland or not? We aren't sure. Shannon also has a unhappy romantic history, never having found someone she really wants to be with long-term. Will things change now?
There are two (maybe three?) other story lines. One is the diary of a British man in the mid-1800s, fascinated by the Beothuk and particularly by Shanawdithit. He tries to draw as much information out of her as he can about her people, but never really treats her as she would wish. Although I have to say, he isn't that familiar with white women either, so perhaps he really doesn't know what to do with her other than mine her for information.
The other stories are fiction (a novel and short story) about early natives and an early encounter between Basque fishermen and natives. The novel I really didn't like all that much and at first I wasn't clear about it's place in the book. Since it took up more of the story as the book went on, that made it drag a bit for me.
I think that I found the book too slow for my mood, and not satisfying by the end.
I shall pass it off to a Newfie friend and hope she enjoys it more.

1 comment:

  1. This book covers a couple of challenges:
    my 80th book for the Canadian Book challenge, and
    "something in the sky" for the What's in a Name challenge.

    Sorry I didn't like it more.