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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams|
|Release Date: 09-30-2009|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
History of Newfoundland
We intend our history to be the story of the island of Newfoundland since the geological formation which bears that name first rose above the surface of the sea....
The earth's crust cools ...
John Cabot discovers the island on June 24, 1497. He believes he has found Cathay, now known as China, to find a shortcut to which he had set out thirty-five days before. He returns to England and tells King Henry VII that he has found the land of the Grand Khan and will surely find the Grand Khan's kingdom if Henry will finance a second expedition. The king agrees. Cabot leaves for Newfoundland and is never seen again.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier circumnavigates Newfoundland, proving it to be an island, which he manages to convince his crew is as great an achievement as doing what he set out to do, namely, discover a passage to the East Indies. This explains his later remark, inscrutable to many, that the quality he prizes most highly in a sailor is gullibility.
In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, sets out in search of a passage to the Orient, but settles for claiming Newfoundland in the name of Queen Elizabeth I. Upon leaving Newfoundland for England, he takes with him a piece of turf and a small twig, symbols of ownership which, unlike him, remain afloat when his ship sinks in the mid-Atlantic.
One of my father's most prized poss...