Baltimore's Mansion

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Baltimore's Mansion

by Wayne Johnston

Knopf Canada | September 15, 1999 | Hardcover

Baltimore's Mansion is rated 4.75 out of 5 by 4.
This intimate story of family and place - the perfect book to follow the success of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams - will join The Danger Tree and Angela''s Ashes on the shelf reserved for most valued memoirs.

Baltimore''s Mansion - a story of the vivid, moving, hilarious machinations of three generations of fathers and sons - will speak to readers everywhere about the hardships, blessings and power of family relationships. Charlie Johnston is the famed blacksmith of Ferryland, a Catholic colony founded by Lord Baltimore in the 1620s on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. But he must spend the first cold hours of every working day fishing at sea with his sons, one of whom, Wayne''s father Arthur, vows that as an adult he will never look to the sea for his livelihood. In the heady months leading to the referendum that results in Newfoundland being "inducted" into Canada, Art leaves the island, parting on mysterious terms with Charlie who dies while he''s away, and is plunged into a lifelong battle with the personal demons that haunted the end of their relationship. Years later, Wayne prepares to leave at the same age his father was when he said good-bye, and old patterns threaten to repeat themselves.

In this year that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Newfoundland as a province, there will be no book that captures, for all time, both the seductive spirit of the Rock and the   universal spirit of family (no matter how delightfully eccentric) like Baltimore''s Mansion.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 300 pages

Published: September 15, 1999

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676971466

ISBN - 13: 9780676971460

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful read! This was a wonderful book. A masterful blending of personal history and fictional narrative, Johnston's style is captivating. It is easy to get lost in the storytelling and reminiscing that goes on throughout the novel. Johnston opens a window to a time and a place in Canada that is perhaps lost to non-Newfoundlanders. I really enjoyed how he blends coming-of-age themes for both the main protagonist and young Canada. I highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2010-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hooked on the first sentence and laughing out loud by page 2! There are but a wee few books that have me reading passages aloud to anyone who will listen, "Baltimore's Mansion" is one of them! I can only imagine that Wayne Johnston is well blessed with the Newfoundlander's 'gift of gab', his memoir reads like an entertaining "yarn". Now, being a Nova Scotian, and having a long-gone grandfather from Newfoundland, I thought I knew a thing or two about "mummers", wrong! When mummers show up on board the return trip home across the rails of Newfoundland in late December of ‘68, I thought I‘d die laughing!. Mix in a great Ghost Story, courtesy of Art Johnston (Wayne’s father), and you are in for a most memorable ride. Trust me, you don‘t want to miss this train! If you don't know what "a feed of tongues are" and even if (like me) you do, what has got to be the best description and corresponding story on record is in this book. You'll eat this one up (though you may want to pass on the fish-head stew … lol)!
Date published: 2008-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Canada Includes... I have not read any of Johnston's fiction pieces, but after having sighed and laughed my way through BM I can't wait till I get my hands on Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Johnston's heartfelt reminiscence of his childhood and early adulthood in Newfoundland has peeked my interest in this too often ignored aspect of Canadian culture. Anyone should read this fantastic biography!
Date published: 2000-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from From a non-Newfoundlander Baltimore's Mansion is a fine memoir that speaks to those who understand the mysteries that exist in relationships between sons and fathers, men and their homelands. For those who have never been to Newfoundland or who have never known a Newfoundlander, this book may not carry the same power that it has over me. For most, this is a province that is isolated, insular and infinitely difficult to understand. Why do so many leave the province yet yearn for it and long for its harsh geography? So few Canadians have the kind of attachment that Newfoundlanders have for their homeland. Forget The Shipping News. If you want to get to know this beautiful province, pick up Johnston's book soon. This is not so much a memoir as it is a book that exorcises some of Johnston's misgivings about leaving in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer.
Date published: 2000-03-27

– More About This Product –

Baltimore's Mansion

by Wayne Johnston

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 300 pages

Published: September 15, 1999

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0676971466

ISBN - 13: 9780676971460

Read from the Book

I am foreborn of spud runts who fled the famines of Ireland in the 1830s, not a man or woman among them more than five foot two, leaving behind a life of beggarment and setting sail for what since Malory were called the Happy Isles to take up unadvertised positions as servants in the underclass of Newfoundland. Having worked off their indenture, they who had been sea-fearing farmers became seafaring fishermen and learned some truck-augmenting trade or craft that they practised during the part of the year or day when they could not fish. Their names. In reverse order: Johnston. Johnson. Jonson. Jenson...MacKeown. "Mac" in Gaelic meaning "son" and Keown "John." My father grew up in a house that was blessed with water from an iceberg. A picture of that iceberg hung on the walls in the front rooms of the many houses I grew up in. It was a blown-up photograph that yellowed gradually with age until we could barely make it out. My grandmother, Nan Johnston, said the proper name for the iceberg was Our Lady of the Fjords, but we called it the Virgin Berg. In 1905, on June 24, the feast day of St. John the Baptist and the day in 1497 of John Cabot''s landfall at Cape Bonavista and "discovery" of Newfoundland, an iceberg hundreds of feet high and bearing an undeniable likeness to the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared off St. John''s harbour. As word of the apparition spread, thousands of people flocked to Signal Hill to get a glimpse of it. An ever-gr
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From the Publisher

This intimate story of family and place - the perfect book to follow the success of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams - will join The Danger Tree and Angela''s Ashes on the shelf reserved for most valued memoirs.

Baltimore''s Mansion - a story of the vivid, moving, hilarious machinations of three generations of fathers and sons - will speak to readers everywhere about the hardships, blessings and power of family relationships. Charlie Johnston is the famed blacksmith of Ferryland, a Catholic colony founded by Lord Baltimore in the 1620s on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. But he must spend the first cold hours of every working day fishing at sea with his sons, one of whom, Wayne''s father Arthur, vows that as an adult he will never look to the sea for his livelihood. In the heady months leading to the referendum that results in Newfoundland being "inducted" into Canada, Art leaves the island, parting on mysterious terms with Charlie who dies while he''s away, and is plunged into a lifelong battle with the personal demons that haunted the end of their relationship. Years later, Wayne prepares to leave at the same age his father was when he said good-bye, and old patterns threaten to repeat themselves.

In this year that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Newfoundland as a province, there will be no book that captures, for all time, both the seductive spirit of the Rock and the   universal spirit of family (no matter how delightfully eccentric) like Baltimore''s Mansion.

About the Author

Wayne Johnston''s latest novel (his fifth), The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, has been published in Canada, the US and the UK to tremendous critical acclaim, and is forthcoming in Germany and Holland. The film version of a previous novel, The Divine Ryans, will be released this fall. Wayne Johnston was born and raised in Newfoundland and now lives in Toronto.

From Our Editors

This moving memoir examines the hardships and blessings of family relationships. In Baltimore’s Mansion, Wayne Johnston explores three generations of fathers and sons, beginning with his grandfather Charlie Johnston, the famed blacksmith of Ferryland. When his son leaves the island, he parts on mysterious terms from Charlie, who dies while he is away. Years later, Wayne prepares to leave at the same age his father was when he said good-bye and old patterns threaten to repeat themselves.

Editorial Reviews

"Incredibly moving, deeply personal and often hilarious." -The Toronto Star

"A prodigiously talented author--. Baltimore''s Mansion ought to win a wide readership, especially among those of us grasping after the meaning of our own fathers'' lives." -The Globe and Mail

"Much more than a memoir--Johnston has used all the fictive techniques he has mastered as a mature literary artist to shape the materials of real life into a work of astonishing beauty and power." -National Post

Employee Review

Johnston takes the reader to Newfoundland, spanning three generations of the province's history. We meet Wayne's grandfather, who along with many others, was against Joey Smallwood and strongly opposed to Newfoundland joining Canada in 1949, and against the removal of the railway system in 1969. Johnston builds a strong link through his excellent writing between these families and Newfoundland's changing history.
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