Synopses & Reviews
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
is Newfoundland that vast, haunting near-continent upon which the two lovers and adversaries of this miraculously inventive novel pursue their ambitions.
Joey Smallwood, sprung from almost Dickensian privation, is a scholarship boy at a private school, where his ready wit bests the formidably tart-tongued Sheilagh Fielding. Their dual fates become forever linked by an anonymous letter to a local paper critical of the school a letter whose mysterious authorship will weigh heavily on their lives.
Driven by socialist dreams and political desire, Smallwood will walk a railroad line the breadth of Newfoundland in a journey of astonishing power and beauty, to unionize the workers and make his name. Fielding, now a popular newspaper columnist, provides in her journalism, her diaries, and her bleakly hilarious "Condensed History of Newfoundland" a satirical and eloquent counternarrative to Smallwood's story.
As the decades pass and Smallwood's rise converges with Newfoundland's emerging autonomy, these two vexed characters must confront their own frailties and secrets and their mutual (if doomed) love.
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams combines erudition, unflagging narrative brio, and emotional depth in a manner reminiscent of the best of Robertson Davies and John Irving. Set in a landscape already made familiar to American readers by Annie Proulx and Howard Norman, it establishes Wayne Johnston as a novelist who is as profound as he is funny, with an unerringly ironic sense of the intersection where private lives and history collide.
About the Author
Wayne Johnston is the author of four previous novels, including The Divine Ryans, which will be published as an Anchor paperback in August 1999; a film adaptation starring Pete Postlethwaite will be released that fall. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams was nominated for the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award in Canada. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Johnston now lives in Toronto.