SweetlandSweetland by Michael Crummey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[Audio Version] I picked up “Sweetland” hoping that it might be the Canadian equivalent of Steinbeck’s ‘Sweet Thursday”. I’ll state here that there is a real possibility that this unrealized expectation may have affected my ability to appreciate the first couple of chapters but I don’t think so. I’ll describe those chapters as plodding but necessary in order to create a solid foundation for what followed.

What followed was the unfolding of the life of 70-year old, Moses Sweetwater. While adopting a bit of the persona of a grumpy-old-man Moses is neither an evil man running from a long-history of mis-deeds nor a super-hero saint. He just is. Life happens and he regularly, dutifully confronts occurrences as needs be, without excuses and without an expectation of pity or accolades for any of his actions.

Now, if that sounds dull, blame this reviewer. “Sweetland” succeeds in bringing Moses Sweetland to life. Once that happens and the reader (or listener) comes to know and empathize with the characters, then outcomes matter. And that is what makes for a rewarding reading experience.

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