SeldomBook - 2002
Seldommarks the literary debut of an amazingly talented writer, Dawn Rae Downton, whose mother, Marion, grew up in a tiny Newfoundland outport in the years before the island joined Canada in 1949. In prose that captures the rhythms of Newfoundland speech, Downton tells the mesmerising and heartrending story of her mother's family -- and of their neighbours -- people so well acquainted with tragedy that for them life was ultimately more mysterious than death. Sidney Wiseman, a prosperous skipper, and his wife, Ethel, a former teacher who now ran the outport's general store, were married in 1922 and went on to have six children; Marion was their third. They lived in Little Bay Islands, a small community, where everybody knew everybody else's private affairs: whose son or father had been lost at sea; whose pregnancy was "seen to"; whose brother had gone to the hospital in Twillingate for his weak chest, as tuberculosis was called. But none knew -- or chose to know -- exactly what was going on in Ethel and Sidney's house. None except the children. For long months each year when their father was home from the sea, he lay on a daybed in the kitchen like a serpent, watching, forever watching, his wife and children, waiting for an excuse to strike. Downton does not so much relate the story of the Wisemans as she recreates it, taking readers along the wharves and coves of Little Bay Islands, where the family lived, crafting her powerful narrative from a kaleidoscope of intimate, revealing incidents, from whispers and glances, from the secrets and lies that protected the Wisemans' reputation and blighted their lives. The narrative swirls like a Newfoundland storm as furious as Sidney Wiseman, and at its calm centre is Ethel, his loyal wife and an extraordinary mother. A virtuoso portrait of a close-knit community, at once succoured and brutalized by the cold, capricious ocean,Seldomis also the story of one too-proud family, one indomitable woman. Downton dares much in this riveting book, and succeeds brilliantly.
Publisher: Toronto : M&S, c2002
Branch Call Number: 971/.8/0099/Wisem/-D 359401 1
Characteristics: 292,  p. : ill., maps