Gaff Topsails

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Cormorant Books, 1996 - Fiction - 431 pages
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User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

Gaff Topsails tells the story of a number of Newfoundlanders on June 24, 1948. As school ends for the summer, and the town gets ready for the annual St. John the Baptist celebration and bonfire, the ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A wealth of fascinating material and its author's lyrical prose style are the saving graces of this ponderous, overheated first novel from and about Newfoundland. Its actions occur during a single day ... Read full review


The Crows and Gulls Hour

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About the author (1996)

My life has in many ways been a tragedy and a failure," wrote Patrick Kavanagh toward his death. Born in Innishkeen, County Monaghan, Kavanagh ended his formal education after grammar school. He lived on a farm in his native parish until moving to Dublin in 1939, which he later described as one of the great mistakes of his life. There he supported himself primarily through journalism until awarded a sinecure of #400 a year for extramural lectures at University College, Dublin. After an illness in the mid-1950s, he grew resigned to obscurity and mellowed in his long literary war with both Irish repression and the Irish literary establishment. Besides his journalism, he also wrote novels of an autobiographical type. Sprung from Roman Catholic peasant stock, Kavanagh saw himself as voicing his own heritage against more anglicized (and more famous) writers. His first volume, Ploughman and Other Poems, established the rural themes that mark much of his verse. His best-known, and perhaps his greatest poem, The Great Hunger (1942), follows a potato farmer named Patrick Maguire through the famine of the 1840s and presents a blistering attack on the sexual and spiritual deprivation of rural Irish peasantry. Kavanagh later criticized the poem as lacking humor, and his subsequent work shows a more temperate acceptance of the ironic comedy of life, as in "Canal Bank Walk.

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