'Howard Norman's spare, lovely, haunting novel begins in 1911. Its narrator, Fabian Vas, is a bird artist: he draws and paints the birds of Witless Bay, his remote Newfoundland coastal village home. In the first paragraph of his tale, Fabian reveals that he has murdered the village lighthouse keeper, Botho August. Later, he confesses who and what drove him to his crime--a measured, profoundly engrossing story of passion, betrayal, guilt and redemption between men and women.'
I seem to be attracting novels set in Newfoundland these days: I read The Shipping News a while back. I really enjoyed the first half of this book for the romantic idea of the life of its protagonist, who spends all his time as an artist in such a beautiful rural setting. However, the story itself only plods along, and the conversations are just plain weird: I wonder if this is well-observed Newfoundland dialogue, or just part of the slightly oddball style of the book.
Since I already knew whodunnit from the first page, the romance factor only carried me so far: I'm carrying on with this to get it finished, but I've kind of lost my original enthusiasm....Continua