True Crime

The Stories of Trees

Burglary. Drugs. The Newfoundlanders in Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News shake their heads in dismay. Newcomers, drawn to The Rock by an influx of offshore oil work, are committing crimes that were unheard of before. People accustomed to security have to lock their doors at night. From the way they go on, you’d think crime had been invented last Tuesday. But running through the novel is a story of incest; running through the locals’ talk, casual tales of domestic violence and abuse. Crimes that make your blood run cold are just a way of life. It’s only this new crime, this unexpected crime, that’s a problem. People who thought they were safe feel vulnerable, and they resent it. Clearly the outsiders are to blame.

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” The adage isn’t quite true. Really, you forget that the devil you know is a devil…

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