St. John's archivist Michael Lowe's life is turned on its head when a Dutch acquaintance, Anton Aalders, arrives on his doorstep in 1995. Anton is searching for a father he never met, ostensibly a Newfoundland soldier who was part of the Allied forces that liberated the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War. Anton's visit stretches from a few days to a few months, reluctant as he is to go in search of his father, and keen to learn as much as he can about Newfoundland, its history, and its people. Rabble-rouser and ardent Newfoundland patriot Brendan "Miles" Harnett, Michael's friend and sometime bugbear, is obsessed with his own search for the lost "fatherland" of Newfoundland, which relinquished its political independence in 1934. Miles is only too eager to teach Anton—and Michael—the shameful, forgotten history (as he sees it) of the lost country of Newfoundland. The Strangers' Gallery is a finely crafted, at times humorous, novel about the painful search for identity—both political and personal.
About the author
Paul Bowdring is the author of three previous novels, including the critically acclaimed The Night Season and, most recently, The Strangers’ Gallery, which won the 2013 BMO Winterset Award, the 2014 Writers’Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Fiction Award, and was nominated for the 2014 ReLit Award and the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He was shortlisted for the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council BMO Artist of the Year award for 2014. He lives in St. John’s.
- Nominated, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
- Winner, BMO Winterset Award (NF and L Arts Council)
Excerpt: The Strangers' Gallery (by (author) Paul Bowdring)
"'Could you put those forget-me-nots in with her?' she asked Dr. Devine, in reply to which, of course, no matter what she thought of it, how much she wanted to plant those seeds instead of incinerating them, the good doctor could only say yes."
A rich and expansive novel, comic and erudite, wise and down-to-earth in its depiction of the joys and disappointments in the modern world.
John Steffler (author of The Afterlife of George Cartwright)
The Strangers' Gallery will confirm Paul Bowdring's reputation as one of the most insightful, witty, and readable Newfoundland writers of his generation ... An alegy for a certain vision of Newfoundland, an examination of the way in which the past, both collective and personal, impinges upon the present, and a meditation on the ways in which we give meaning to our lives.
Larry Matthews (author of The Artificial Newfoundlander)