Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Library Journal Review of The Grey Islands audio edition: "Highly Recommended"

Steffler, John. The Grey Islands. 2 CDs. unabridged. 2½ hrs. Rattling Bks. 2007. ISBN 978-0-9737586-0-3. $24.95. poetry

In these narratives, which mingle poetry and prose, the listener hears the enchanting accents of voices that infuse the language with rhythmic beauty. A ghostly tale of a wife’s death, a mock census read like an obituary, a fisherman teaching his son to fish—these and other stories evoke Newfoundland’s spirit and the history of its people. The individual voices are framed by the tale of a young man, his marriage nearing shipwreck, who comes as an outsider and describes what he sees in modern Newfoundland. The text is accompanied occasionally by the sounds of coastal birds, the sea washing onto the shore, the sounds of life lived close to the land, sea, and wind. The narrative voices (the author and others) vary with the mood and subject matter, a resonant male voice telling of a young wife’s death long ago, another delivering with religious fervor a history of Newfoundland’s people and the sins for which they have been punished by being delivered to this harsh environment. Vivid descriptive details create an unforgettable sense of life in that place, starkly beautiful and hauntingly remote. Highly recommended.—Bernard E. Morris, Modesto, CA
Library Journal, week of September 25, 2007