Caption: After a day catching gaff topsail catfish like this one, the species won the admiration of veteran angler Bob Wayne.
Caption: Gaff topsail catfish won this blind taste test at the Island Cafe in Everglades City.
Her length overall is 19.8 metres (65 feet) and, in marked contrast to the high-tech, carbon-fibre, 30-metre (98-foot) hull of WiM Oats X/, she was built of timber with a timber mast and gaff topsail
In fact, Power's book should also sit alongside Wayne Johnston's The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Patrick Kavanagh's Gaff Topsails
, Michael Crummey's Galore, Bernice Morgan's Cloud of Bone, and a few others as one of the contenders for the title of "The Great Newfoundland and Labrador Novel." That this was one of Power's aspirations in writing the novel, even if ironically, I have no doubt, and it is a belief only further confirmed for me by the book's earlier (perhaps working?) title: "The.Motherfucking.Bible." Yet Power's shot at greatness is also a backhanded slap that hits flush and frequently.
"There are no recent herd estimates in either CMU 69 of the Gaff Topsails
region, but caribou here are thought to be doing reasonably well even though hunters are experiencing a slight decrease in success rates."
In Gaff Topsails it is 1948 on the coast of Newfoundland rather than 1904 in Dublin, but many similarities remain.
It is perhaps unfair to compare a first novel to the great modernist masterpiece, but Gaff Topsails borrows so heavily in certain areas that comparisons are inevitable.
In his introduction to an issue of Essays on Canadian Writing dedicated to the literature of Newfoundland, Mathews claims Fowler's contribution, "Patrick Kavanagh's Gaff Topsails and the Myth of the Old Outport," "represents the romantic tradition in Newfoundland critical writing" and says the following of Fowler's reading of the representation of community as a sustaining and supportive force in Gaff Topsails: "this value is affirmed throughout and without reservation; no hint of irony calls it into question" (Mathews 16,17).
In "The Three Sheilas: Irish Myth and Newfoundland Folklore in Patrick Kavanagh's Gaff Topsails" Michele Holmgren echoes Fowler's and Delisle's readings of mythologizing and indigenizing when she concludes her assessment of Gaff Topsails with the claim that Kavanagh is trying "to show how exiled, outlawed and castaway myths from Ireland became the native myths of Newfoundland" (Holmgren 62).
"Sportsmen who spot and stalk the Middle Ridge (15,000 animals), Grey River (9,000), Lapoile (7,000) and Gaff Topsails
(3,000) herds should enjoy success at least as good as last fall," says biologist Mike McGrath.
John's novels (see Bowdring's The Night Season, Moore's Alligator, or Harvey's Inside), while the other is the latest Newfoundland historical novel (a la Johnston's The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Custodian of Paradise, Crummey's River Thieves, and Kavanagh's Gaff Topsails
) both possess a remarkable quality: they both make compulsively readable the presentation of two rather unlikeable characters.