Theatre of Fish
Travels Through Newfoundland and Labrador
By John Gimlette
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400078530, 402pp.)
Publication Date: November 14, 2006
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Newfoundland is one of the most intriguing places in North America, a land of breathtaking but cruel beauty, populated by some of the saltiest, oddest characters you’ll ever find. In Theatre of Fish, John Gimlette vividly describes the dense forests and forbidding coastlines and recounts the colorful and often tragic history of the region. He introduces us to the inhabitants, from the birds and moose to the descendants of the outlaws, deserters, and fishermen who settled this eastern edge of North America. Leavened with irreverence and affection, this is an irresistible portrait of life in extremis.
John Gimlette is a well-established travel writer, having won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and the Wanderlust Travel Writing Award. He writes regularly for a number of broadsheets. His first book, At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay, was published in 2003 to massive critical acclaim. When not probing the extreme corners of the Earth he practices as a barrister in London.
“Newfoundlers themselves must be God’s gift to travel writers. In John Gimlette’s frothy treatment, the island is absolutely teeming with impossibly colorful characters spouting nonstop entertainment . . . Gimlette is laugh-out-loud funny.” –The New York Times Book Review
“John Gimlette is attracted to bizarre places and writes about them with often withering irony [and] surrealist panache. . . . An absurd and entertaining book.” –National Geographic
“Oddly compelling. . . . The reward is the feast of stories gathered from taverns and ferry rides and old journals: drownings, battles with ‘Esquimaux’ greenhorns challenging an unforgiving wilderness, folks who still use dogsleds because in tough times, ‘You can't eat a snowmobile.’” –The Washington Post
“Terrific stuff. . . . A dazzlingly multifaceted portrait of the region. . . . A hugely entertaining book in which the interest never flags. . . . As a descriptive writer, a master of the telling observation and the well-chosen epithet, [Gimlette] is in the highest class.” –The Daily Telegraph