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 two previous novels, The Roncesvalles Pass and The Night Season, the latter published to wide critical acclaim and broadcast nationally on CBC’s “Between the Covers”. He has worked for many years as an English teacher and editor. He was a long-time editor of TickleAce magazine and is currently an associate editor with The Fiddlehead. He lives in St. John’s, Canada.
This is our choice as the very best of Newfoundland and Labrador fiction published in 2013. Winner of the Winterset Award, a provincial literary award. A brilliant, rambling novel that takes on Newfoundland’s checkered past and present through the passions and wit of a wonderfully observant archivist. A fine read indeed.