Travels through Newfoundland and Labrador
An extraordinary journey across the magnificent, bizarre coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
John Gimlette's travels through this harsh and awesome landscape, the eastern extreme of the Americas, broadly mirrors that of Dr Eliot Curwen, his great-grandfather, who spent a summer there as a doctor in 1893, and who was witness to some of the most beautiful ice and cruelest poverty in the British Empire. Using Curwen's extraordinarily frank journal, John Gimlette revisits the places his great-grandfather encountered and along the way explores his own links with this brutal land.
“'An exhilarating [book], lit up by the vividness of the reporting, the sense of history it conveys, and the irresistible verve of Gimlette's prose. It told me a great deal I did not know and am glad to know, and entertained me greatly'”
“'John Gimlette is a writer of vivid comical prose... Mingles ancestral history and humorous anecdote... Highly entertaining'”
“'A sprawling travelogue of fascinating anecdotes, flashes of brilliant wit'”
“'With his quiet respectability shining throughout, Gimlette's tale is not just a travel yarn or a family history, it tells a story in its own right too'”
“'The arrival of a new book by John Gimlette, barrister and author of the critically acclaimed At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, is a cause for celebration. Few modern writers knit such meticulous prose, boast such a keen eye for detail, or possess such mordant wit ... Theatre of Fish is a superbly apt title for the results. As a kind of outpost on the edge of the Americas, Newfoundland's people seem to have an almost Dickensian quirkiness, perfect for Gimlette's approach. Yet perhaps most admirably, the book holds them up to the light without a hint of ridicule. As in Paraguay, the author appears genuinely drawn to its cast of lost souls, eccentrics and the bizarre. Similarly, much of the history he recounts is darkly unpleasant, and yet he manages to recount it without either losing his sense of humour or perspective. Intellectually, Theatre of Fish is a delight.'”
“'Terrific stuff... Hugely entertaining... As a descriptive writer, a master of the telling observation and the well-chosen epithet, [Gimlette] is in the highest class.'”
Max Davidson, Daily Telegraph