Jillian Tamaki


May 31st, 2011

I’m reading a really great book now, called Galore, by Michael Crummey. It’s a folkloric story that takes place in Newfoundland. Listen, I don’t usually do extracurricular book illustrations, but I love mythological settings with rituals and witches and bad teeth…

OH! And speaking of Newfoundland, if you’re in Toronto you must see the David Blackwood exhibit at the AGO. Even ol’ Skeptical Sam was blown away.

(In case you’re interested: from Publisher’s Weekly: Starred Review. Crummey (River Thieves) returns readers to historic Newfoundland in his mythic and gorgeous latest, set over the course of a century in the life of a hardscrabble fishing community. After a lean early-19th-century winter, a whale beaches itself and everyone in town gathers to help with the slaughter. But when a woman known only as Devine’s Widow—when she’s not called an outright witch—cuts into the belly, the body of an albino man slides out. He eventually revives, turns out to be a mute, and is dubbed Judah by the locals. Judah’s mystery—is his appearance responsible for the great fishing season that follows?—is only one among many in this wild place, where the people are afflicted by ghosts and curses as much as cold and hunger. Crummey’s survey eventually telescopes to the early 20th century, when Judah’s pale great-grandson, Abel, sequesters himself amid medical debris in an old hospital where his opera singer cousin, Esther Newman, has returned and resolved to drink herself to death. But before she does so, she shares with him the family history he never knew. Crummey lovingly carves out the privation and inner intricacies that mark his characters’ lives with folkloric embellishments and the precision of the finest scrimshaw. (Apr.) )