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The Colony of Unrequited Dreamsby Wayne Johnston
Winner of The 1999 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction
One of The Globe and Mail's Top 100 Notable Books of 1998
A Maclean's Choice for Best Fiction from Fall, 1998
Synopses & Reviews
A mystery and a love story spanning five decades, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is an epic portrait of passion and ambition, set against the beautiful, brutal landscape of Newfoundland. In this widely acclaimed novel, Johnston has created two of the most memorable characters in recent fiction: Joey Smallwood, who claws his way up from poverty to become New Foundland's first premier; and Sheilagh Fielding, who renounces her father's wealth to become a popular columnist and writer, a gifted satirist who casts a haunting shadow on Smallwood's life and career.
The two meet as children at school and grow to realize that their lives are irreversibly intertwined, bound together by a secret they don't know they share. Smallwood, always on the make, torn between love of country and fear of failure, is as reluctant to trust the private truths of his heart as his rival and savior, Fielding — brilliant, hard-drinking, and unconventionally sexy.
Their story ranges from small-town Newfoundland to New York City, from the harrowing ice floes of the seal hunt to the lavish drawing rooms of colonial governors, and combines erudition, comedy, and unflagging narrative brio in a manner reminiscent of John Irving and Charles Dickens. A tragicomic elegy for the "colony of unrequited dreams" that is Newfoundland, Wayne Johnston's masterful tribute to a people and a place establishes him as a novelist who is as profound as he is funny, with an impeccable sense of the intersection where private lives and history collide.
"A novel of cavernous complexity that nevertheless doesn't overwhelm the reader, who can repose in pure narrative without second thoughts...[an] eloquent anti-epic." Luc Sante, New York Times Book Review
"As absorbing as fiction can be — and [from] one of our continent's best writers." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]his prodigious, eventful, character-rich book is a noteworthy achievement: a biting, entertaining and inventive saga....[Its] themes include love and betrayal but also the remorseless contest for power that takes place in both the psychic and the political spheres....It all adds up to a brilliant and bravura literary performance by Johnston." New York Times
An epic portrait of passion and ambition set against the beautiful, brutal landscape of Newfoundland, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams describes the rise of Joey Smallwood, who claws his way up from poverty to become Newfoundland's first premier. Smallwood's fate is inextricably linked with that of his tart-tongued childhood rival and soul mate Sheilagh Fielding, who becomes a brilliant and popular satirist of Smallwood's career. Their unconventional romance ranges from small Canadian fishing towns to New York City, from the harrowing ice floes of the seal hunt to the lavish drawing rooms of colonial governors. And as the decades pass, and Smallwood's successes and failures shape Newfoundland's emerging political destiny, these two characters must confront their frailties and secrets, and their mutual, if doomed, love.<P>Wayne Johnston's widely acclaimed tragicomic elegy for the "colony of unrequited dreams" that is Newfoundland is a masterful tribute to a people and a place, and establishes him as a novelist of profound and manifold gifts.
About the Author
Wayne Johnston is the author of four previous novels, including The Divine Ryans. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Johnston now lives in Toronto.
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