WEEPING BAY by Joy Davidman


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A harsh, unrelieved novel about a poverty-stricken Canadian fishing village on the St. Lawrence in the Gaspe. All Catholics, all unbearably hard-working, they follow a pretty miserable life pattern; the men either fish for cod or work in the Boisbert factory; the women bear ten or more children and watch them starve to death. There is an occasional bingo game or carnival to cut the tedium, but the general picture is stark and joyless. Father Desrosiers, a representative of the Syndicate of Catholic Workers, sets up in the town in the hope that he can organize and achieve better wages and living conditions for the men. A timid, thin-lipped, quite foolish priest, Desrosiers, is generally ineffectual and is scorned by the hierarchy of the already established priests living in Weeping Bay. The unctuous Cure of the church does not wish to see his simple (if starving) flock contaminated by materialism and prefers to keep them poor, while his brother, the Chief of Police, rapes and ruins a waitress in the town's hotel. But there are moments of rebellion all along the line; Herve, a factory worker, hot-bloodedly fights for his and others' rights; Mireille, afraid to have children because they will starve, aborts herself; Marie-Ange defies the priest and uses birth-control methods.... Apparently a plea for a more flexible Catholicism, this is alive and tense and well-written.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1950
Publisher: Macmillan