Blackstrap Hawco

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Fifteen years in the making, this book is the one Canada’s “heavyweight champ of brash and beautiful literature” was meant to write. An epic masterwork about Newfoundland’s working class, Blackstrap Hawco spans more than a century in gorgeous and widely varied prose, reminding us that even when writing about the degradation of identity and language, Harvey does it magnificently.

Named in a moment of anger, Blackstrap Hawco is heir to an island dominion picked over by its adoptive nation. From the arrivals of the indentured Irish to the Victorian drawing rooms of the English merchants, from the perilous seal hunt to the raucous iron ore mines, from a notorious disaster at sea to the relocation of outport communities, the family legend might be all his people have left to live for. But as Blackstrap Hawco – a novel that will consume you in its dazzling swirl of voices, legends and beautiful hearsay – testifies, a story this haunting, this powerful, might just be enough.

From the Hardcover edition.


Book One

In 1953, my great-grandfather, Jacob Hawco, faced death on the trapline. He was only three miles from his home in Bareneed, a small fishing community that eventually was resettled by the government of Joseph Smallwood in 1962, and then repopulated some time later....
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“Mesmerizing scenes worthy of a national epic... Its meticulous construction and control contain a breadth of incident and characterization seen only in the most ambitious and imposing novels.”
The Globe & Mail

“Kenneth J. Harvey, Atlantic gale, continues to astonish. And in Blackstrap Hawco, he has given Newfoundland, not to mention the world, something very great indeed.”
National Post

“ A masterpiece... brutal, poignant, stunning, infuriating, heartbreaking and hopeful, hard to read and harder still to put aside.”
The Chronicle Herald

Blackstrap Hawco is an ambitious book, far-reaching, deliberately complex, blunt, ruthless and lyrical.”
The Telegram

“Brilliant... a loving tribute to the uniqueness of Newfoundland.”
Winnipeg Free Press

"There are moments that are literally awe-inspiring and writing so skilled it almost brought me to tears... more ambitious than any Canadian novel in recent memory."
The Vancouver Sun

“Easily the best book of the year and an instant classic.”
Ottawa Xpress

“By virtue of its sheer size and scope, it’s a deep source of impression, reflection and consideration.”
The Globe & Mail

From the Hardcover edition.