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The Town That Forgot How to Breathe

The Town That Forgot How to Breathe

(2003)
A novel by

 
With no more cod to fish, Bareneed, the setting of Kenneth J. Harvey's powerfully eerie The Town That Forgot How to Breathe, has become another Newfoundland outport village on the wane. As one character laments, "Bareneed, once a lively and warm place, now stank of drabness and heartbreak." It's not much of a magnet for tourists, but it has attracted two visitors for the summer: a fisheries officer and his young daughter. Deeply pained by the recent break-up of his marriage, Joseph fails to notice the more curious aspects of the town. It takes him a while to hear about the townsfolk who've been dropping dead for no apparent reason. He's also slow to realize that his daughter Robin's new playmate is the ghost of a drowned girl. When he and Robin find an "exceptionally ugly" sculpin at the end of their fishing line, Joseph again tries to stay calm. But then he takes a closer look at his catch. "Feeling his fingers turn warm while he tried to disengage the hook," Harvey writes, "Joseph whisked them away. Flesh-coloured fluid seeped from the sculpin's wide mouth. A solid object began edging out as he wiped his fingers on his pants--a flesh-coloured sculpted orb, topped with something that resembled hair, matted in mucousy clumps." The porcelain doll's head that emerges from the fish is one in a series of unsettling sights in Harvey's book. As more and more objects are expelled from the sea, Bareneed's most painful secrets come to the surface.

By setting his story in this desolate Atlantic locale, Harvey seeks to do more than add regional flavour to a Stephen King-style tale of an ordinary community plagued by inexplicable events. Instead, the terrors that Harvey describes are rooted in very real psychological and societal traumas. What makes The Town That Forgot How to Breathe so cunning is the way Harvey uses the horror genre as the basis for a provocative defence of Newfoundland's imperiled cultural traditions. Even though his ornate prose style can sometimes get waterlogged in the scenes between the shocks, Harvey has created a book that is as compelling as it is unique. --Jason Anderson

Genre: Horror
 
Used availability for Kenneth J Harvey's The Town That Forgot How to Breathe


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 
 

Hardback Editions

October 2005 : USA Hardback
Title: The Town That Forgot How to Breathe: A Novel
Author(s): Kenneth J. Harvey
ISBN: 0312342225 / 9780312342227 (USA edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 2004 : UK Hardback
Title: The Town That Forgot How to Breathe
Author(s): Kenneth J. Harvey
ISBN: 0436206382 / 9780436206382 (UK edition)
Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
Availability: Amazon CA   Amazon UK   

Paperback Editions

August 2006 : USA Paperback
Title: The Town That Forgot How to Breathe: A Novel
Author(s): Kenneth J. Harvey
ISBN: 0312424809 / 9780312424800 (USA edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon UK   

May 2005 : UK Paperback
Title: The Town That Forgot How To Breathe
Author(s): Kenneth J Harvey
ISBN: 0099469456 / 9780099469452 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon CA   Amazon UK   

June 2003 : Canada Paperback
Title: Town That Forgot How to Breathe
Author(s): Kenneth J. Harvey
ISBN: 1551925923 / 9781551925929 (Canada edition)
Publisher: Raincoast Book Dist Ltd
Availability: Amazon CA   Amazon UK   Amazon   

Kindle Editions

October 2011 : UK Kindle edition
Title: The Town That Forgot How To Breathe
Author(s): Kenneth J Harvey

Publisher: Vintage Digital
Availability: Amazon UK   

 


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