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The Custodian of Paradise: A Novel by Wayne Johnston - Paperback - from The Saint Bookstore (SKU: B9780393331592)

The Custodian of Paradise: A Novel

The Custodian of Paradise: A Novel by Wayne Johnston - Paperback - from The Saint Bookstore (SKU: B9780393331592)

The Custodian of Paradise: A Novel

by Wayne Johnston

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About This Item

Paperback / softback. New. A Book-of-the-Month Club "Best Novel of 2007."


Wayne Johnston was born in Newfoundland in 1958 and grew up in Goulds, a small community a few miles south of St. John’s. When he was a boy, he couldn’t imagine a world beyond the island. "The only outside world I ever saw was on television, and I didn’t really even believe that world existed." At the time, people were still divided over entering Confederation with Canada, which had happened only in 1949. His family had a habit of moving around to different neighbourhoods and his schooling was "hyper-Catholic," elements that would feature in his autobiographical first novel. He graduated with a B.A. (Honours) in English from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and worked from 1979 to 1981 as a reporter at the St. John’s Daily News . Being a reporter was a crash course in how society works, but Johnston realized he didn’t want it as a career. "I’m not that outgoing of a person and you have to be in order to be a good reporter." He moved away from Newfoundland, first to Ottawa, and took up the writing of fiction full-time. In 1983 he graduated with an M.A. from the University of New Brunswick. His first book, The Story of Bobby O’Malley , was published shortly after, and won the W.H. Smith/ Books in Canada First Novel Award. He followed this success two years later with The Time of Their Lives , which won the Canadian Authors Association’s award for most promising young writer. Johnston’s third novel, The Divine Ryans , again a portrait of Irish Catholic Newfoundland, centres on a nine-year-old hockey fanatic whose father dies and whose family goes to live with relatives who once had money but are fast declining. One of Johnston’s most comic novels, it earned him the title of "the Roddy Doyle of Canada." The Divine Ryans won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize and has been adapted into a film starring Pete Postlethwaite. Johnston wrote the screenplay, as well as one for the adaptation of his next novel, Human Amusements . Published in 2002, Johnston’s first novel to be set outside of Newfoundland is a send-up of television’s early days and follows Audrey Prendergast, whose love for her family blinds her to all else and who sees the new medium of television as the only means of climbing the social ladder. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams , Johnston’s fifth novel, was shortlisted in 1998 for the most prestigious fiction awards in Canada, the Governor General’s Award and the Giller Prize, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; it won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. It has been called a "Dickensian romp of a novel," and charts the career of Newfoundland’s first premier to create a love story and a tragicomic elegy to an impossible country. The novel has been published across North America and Europe and in several languages. In 1999 Johnston published Baltimore’s Mansion , his first non-fiction book, a family memoir that also became a national bestseller and won the inaugural Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Johnston uses the stories of his own childhood and those of his father and grandfather to cast light on Newfoundland’s struggle over relinquishing independence in 1949. A National Post reviewer concluded that it was a "non-fiction novel," drawing on all Johnston’s narrative powers to "shape the materials of real life into a work of astonishing beauty and power." A reviewer in Quill & Quire commented, "I began to smell the smells, hear the lilt, and experience a sense of the fierce attachment Newfoundlanders feel to their home province no matter where they live." Johnston has lived in Toronto since 1989, although most of his writing continues to centre on Newfoundland. “I couldn’t write about the island while I was there,” he says. "Life was too immediate. I was too inundated by the place and its details. I’d write about something and see it when I walked across the street the next day." To write with any kind of objectivity, he continues, "I need distance to get that sense of what is important and what is significant and what is not."


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The Saint Bookstore GB (GB)
Seller's Inventory #
The Custodian of Paradise: A Novel
Wayne Johnston
Paperback / softback
Book condition
New New
W. W. Norton
This edition first published
April 7, 2008

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The Saint Bookstore

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2018
Southport, Merseyside
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