September 15, 1999
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-growing flotilla of fishing boats escorted it alo
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.
"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
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.