Thursday, June 21, 2007

Review in the Ottawa Citizen of John Steffler's The Grey Islands

from The Ottawa Citizen
Janice Kennedy, Senior Writer

"...And those imaginative folks at Newfoundland’s Rattling Books have released another gem, perfect if you can’t get to the Rock this summer but still need to smell the ocean, feel the fog and hear the startling cries of the gulls. John Steffler’s The Grey Islands (2 CDs unabridged/2.5 hours, $24.95) is Steffler’s account of the time he spent two decades ago on a deserted island off Newfoundland’s wild northern coast. A newcomer from away, alone in a place no longer inhabited, he explores the island’s ghosts, its unforgiving landscape and the unknown regions of his own soul — and he does it in poetry. Steffler is Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate. But if poetry is not usually your thing, don’t let that put you off. The book is a long poem the way Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces is a novel — rich in narrative, stunningly beautiful and still accessible. Steffler does his own reading, his voice curiously detached but effective, and the whole is enhanced by a haunting coastal soundscape, along with native Newfoundland voices in character roles. The audiobook can be ordered through, which also makes available a digital download version for $14.95."


The unabridged audio edition of The Grey Islands
by John Steffler narrated by John Steffler, Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Diedre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins is available from