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.
Paul Bowdring is the author of three previous novels, The Roncesvalles Pass, The Night Season, and The Strangers’ Gallery, the latter the winner of the BMO Winterset Award and a nominee for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He has worked for many years as an English teacher and editor. He was a longtime editor of TickleAce magazine and is currently an associate editor with The Fiddlehead. He lives in St. John’s, NL.
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.
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.