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"... so skillfully composed it is an effortless read, and a gripping one. The dialogue is spot-on and events unfold with realism and momentum." "A Blessed Snarl is a merging, even collision, of the high and low, saints and back alleys, bile and grace. It is crafted with compression and compactness. It shows a gritty urban world. But one where there is humour, generosity, and mercy." (The Telegram, Joan Sullivan)
"Martin has a certain knack for writing out and excavating the things in life that are difficult to read, let alone experience... This human struggle, what Martin seeks to portray most of all, is explored in a remarkably sensitive, observant manner, and is often gritty, disturbing, nerve-wracking, and heartbreaking but also breathtakingly satisfying." (Bella's Bookshelves)
"Samuel Thomas Martin's debut novel dives right into the densest mysteries of life-the "blessed snarl" of its title. The novel is woven with opposing convictions: Catholicism and Protestantism, murder and innocence, the spirituality of art and of speaking in tongues-a warp and weft that is pulled tight by anger and let loose again by grief. All this set into an icy Newfoundland landscape that wreaks its own chaos on its inhabitants ... Despite the heaviness of the material, Martin's fine hand with characterization makes moments of longed-for reunion ring true... " (Image, July 2012)
"I'm capable of being critical... but when I read a thoughtful novel like A Blessed Snarl, I simply stand and applaud. I might even be tempted to call Martin's accomplishment anointed." (The Christian Courier (Cathy Smith))
"As in This Ramshackle Tabernacle, winter, cold and raw, crackling with energy and power yet also bleak, takes hold and serves as a fitting background for the darkness, whether spiritual, emotional, or physical, through which the characters must wend their ways. This human struggle, what Martin seeks to portray most of all, is explored in a remarkably sensitive, observant manner, and is often gritty, disturbing, nerve-wracking, and heartbreaking but also breathtakingly satisfying." (- Bella's Bookshelves)
"There are a lot of correspondences between the fiction of Canada's East Coast and that of the American South, and this ambivalence - a desire to break free and a yearning to return home - is one of the most significant. Steeped in the voices, weather, art, economy, and spirituality of the place, Martin has written a novel very much in the Newfoundland grain." (- Alex Good, Quill and Quire)
"Sam Martin's A Blessed Snarl is a highly-charged web that wends tightly through belief, love and need - and the human condition of the loss and redemption of all three. Filled with sharply-defined characters whose voices ring as true as a bell, Martin has drawn up a small precise world that can't help but make you shudder from its depth of raw feeling." (- Russell Wangersky, award-winning author of The Glass Harmonica and Burning Down the House)
"[A Blessed Snarl] demolishes categories, while refining them. It is a Canadian novel; a postmodern novel; a Christian novel; a good novel." (-Brian Dijkema, The Cardus Daily)
Samuel Thomas Martin is the author of This Ramshackle Tabernacle. His reviews and stories have appeared in journals in both Canada and the U.S., and his jalapeno chili once made someone cry. Originally from Ontario he now lives in Newfoundland with his wife Samantha and their dog Vader.