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Fiction Jewish

The Island Gospel According to Samson Grief

by (author) Steven Mayoff

Radiant Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Jewish, Literary, Magical Realism
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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Samson Grief, a reclusive painter in PEI struggling with a creative block, is confronted by three red-haired figments of his imagination in the form of Judas Iscariot, Fagin and Shylock. They claim to be messengers of "The Supreme One", a genderless deity who has decreed PEI to bethe new Promised Land and also wants Samson to build the Island's first synagogue. Scared, confused, and seriously doubting his sanity, Samson eventually, though grudgingly, accepts the challenge amidst increasingly bizarre obstacles.

About the author

Steven Mayoff was born and raised in Montreal, lived in Toronto for 17 years and has been writing full time in the bucolic splendour of western Prince Edward Island since 2001. His fiction and poetry have appeared in literary journals across Canada and the U.S., as well as in Ireland, France and Algeria.

His story collection, Fatted Calf Blues, won a 2010 PEI Book Award, was short-listed for a 2010 Re-Lit Award and was a Top 5 Finalist for the 2011 CBC Cross-Country Bookshelf (Maritime division). It was praised in the Globe & Mail as showing “a strong imagination at work.”

He has collaborated on short radio plays for CBC and on a stage play, Bully, which was produced at the Theatre Centre in Toronto in 2001. He received a nomination for a Dora Mavor Moore Award as lyricist for the musical, SwingStep, which was staged at the Ford Centre in North York in 1999.

As a librettist he has written a rock musical, Dorian, with composer Ted Dykstra and a short chamber opera, Milk Bar, with composer Jim O’Leary, which was performed as a student production at Mount Allison University in 2014. He is currently working on a full-length opera, Sikutopia, with Greenlandic composer, Arnannguaq Gerstrøm.

He is also completing a poetry collection, Red Planet Postcards, to be published in 2016. Our Lady of Steerage is his first novel. His web site is

Steven Mayoff's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Readers of Steven Mayoff's darkly humorous novel should prepare themselves to expect the unexpected. The Island Gospel According to Samson Grief provides a rollicking journey through an audaciously reimagined Prince Edward Island, a place bubbling over with intrigue, crowded with unforgettable characters both odious and ordinary, and where divine intervention is a daily occurrence. Utterly original and wildly entertaining."
- Ian Colford, author of Witness and The Confessions of Joseph Blanchard, winner of the 2022 Guernica Prize.
Hilarious ontological and cultural satire canopied by sacred mystery: layered and intelligent, comforting and terrifying, schmaltzy and bittersweet. The Island Gospel According to Samson Grief fuses realism, magic realism, zeitgeist, fear, and love into a most delicious and satisfying novel.
- Michelle Butler Hallett, author of Constant Nobody, winner of the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize.

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