Linden MacIntyre shares personal connection to Newfoundland disaster in The Wake – by Holly McKenzie-Sutter (CBC News – August 22, 2019)

As a journalist Linden MacIntyre covered adversity around the world, sharing the experiences of those caught in tragic circumstances, but he’s waited decades to bring the story of his hometown to the page.

The investigative reporter and novelist was born in St. Lawrence, N.L., where his new book The Wake is set. The author’s hard-rock miner father moved there in the 1940s to work for the fluorspar mining operation that rolled into the poverty-stricken community, which was recovering from a natural disaster and an unexpected collapse of the area’s crucial fisheries.

In 1929, an earthquake-related tsunami struck southern Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, washing homes out to sea and killing 28 people. The story of environmental destruction and industrial exploitation that followed is narrated in The Wake.

Decades later, the mine was discovered to be radioactive, its poor conditions linked to the deaths of possibly hundreds of miners who MacIntyre writes “had been suffering from mysterious and usually fatal illnesses since about 1945.”

If it weren’t for the tsunami and ensuing poverty, the “shoestring” mine would likely never have broken ground in St. Lawrence, MacIntyre contends, and he himself would never have been born there.

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