The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
"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... show more
"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.
Publish date: June 15th 1999
Pages no: 576
Edition language: English
I've read a few Newfoundland novels lately, but this one, a fictionalized autobiography of Joey Smallwood, Newfoundland's first Premier, differs from the rest of them in that it is largely an urban novel, with most of the action set either in St. John's or in New York. Smallwood spent time working f...
"We are a people in whose bodies old sea-seeking rivers roar with blood." I had The Colony Of Unrequited Dreams on my Canada reading list. To be fair, the book was not high up on the list as my knowledge of and interest in Newfoundland was pretty non-existent. If I say my interest in Newfoundland ...
This was the most fun I can ever remember having with Canadian history. I was fascinated by the characters' personal lives, and very interested in the development of Newfoundland as a country before it entered Confederation. I wish it could have been written from the point of view of Sheilagh Fieldi...