Reading guide for Galore by Michael Crummey

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A Novel

by Michael Crummey

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  • Paperback:
    Mar 2011, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Dawson Oakes

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. What do you think of the way Judah comes to Paradise Deep? How do you imagine he came to be inside a whale? Why does Devine's Widow choose to protect him and King-Me Sellers to suspect him?
  2. Judah gets his name because the people in town cannot correctly recall the name of the Biblical Jonah, who is swallowed by a whale. King-Me Sellers, Devine's Widow, Lazarus, and many other characters are also given odd names for peculiar reasons. What is the significance of names and naming in Galore.
  3. What did you think of the Mummers? What role do they play in advancing the plot? Are they harmless troublemakers or a genuine menace?
  4. Many of the stories in Galore are love stories, some go well and some go badly. Discuss some of the couples in the novel, King-Me and Selina, Mr. and Mrs. Gallery, Callum and Lizzie, Mary Tryphena and Henry Devine, Dr. Newman and Bride, and how some of these pairs become triangles with the addition of a third person, Devine's Widow, Father Phelan, Judah, etc.
  5. How is religion portrayed in Galore? There are many feuding sects and battles for parishioners – does any parish come out the winner? How do the people in town seem to choose between them?
  6. Several of these characters experience terrible physical suffering – Mrs. Gallery, Bride, Tryphie – and all of the families battle the harsh climate and dangers of deprivation; how does the extreme nature of life in Paradise Deep impact the atmosphere of Galore?
  7. What role do outsiders like Dr. Newman and Mr. Coaker play in the novel? Are outsiders able to fit in in Paradise Deep?
  8. Did you suspect that Judah was the one who wrote the love letters to Mary Tryphena? How do you think their marriage would have been different if she'd known he loved her?
  9. What do you think of the ending? How do you think Judah and Abel are connected? What does the whale come to stand for in the story?
  10. Of the title, Michael Crummey has said "When I was writing this book I felt a sense of abundance. The source material - the folklore of Newfoundland - is so incredibly rich that I wanted to use that word. One thing I liked about 'galore' is that 'abundance' has only positive connotations, but 'galore' can be used in any situation. You could have money galore or fish galore, but you can also have trouble galore or misery galore." Discuss the significance of the title. Do you think it fits the book?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Other Press. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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