Ray Guy, the great Newfoundland writer, has died. Spent a few insane nights drinking in his company back when Mary Walsh was running a branch of the El Farolito on Pennywell Road. Here is a review I wrote of one his books,
That Far Greater Bay
Before the original, 1976, publication of That Far Greater Bay there was consensus that its author was Newfoundland’s best journalist and, while they were and are admittedly few, among its leading literary stylists. On reissue by Flanker Press the same holds true. Though he publishes less frequently he remains our great satirist. And all now agree that Mark Twain could fairly be said to be the United States’ Ray Guy.
The newspaper and magazine pieces collected here were sagely edited by Eric Norman. If you haven’t read them for a time you will have forgotten their concision. The lushness of the language (it is a word worshipper who tells of “the fructivity at Clarenville”), and the courage of the thought makes them larger in memory. They were crafted with a newspaperman’s discipline. Lesser bay-born commentators aim Guy high but are too pompous and prolix to pull it off. This stuff is short and sharp, and funny, terrifically funny. There are those on whom Guy grated, but even they must concede that the man is an astonishingly good and original writer.