After a thirty-year exile in Toronto, self-described” midlisting”
Newfoundland author James Nightingale leaves behind a failed marriage to a
successful classical musician, who has taken up with an avant-garde composer,
and a middling, if critically successful, career to return temporarily to St.
John’s to receive an honourary degree from his alma mater. Braving the
obstacles of artistic and domestic uncertainty and neglected family obligations-not
to mention a book-signing and a launch that go risibly wrong-he meets old
friends whose own artistic lives have borne little fruit, and tries to come to
terms with a talented daughter who, in defiance of her mother, has abandoned
her classical-music roots in favour of performing “deconstructed” traditional
Newfoundland songs. A father suffering from dementia but with a sharp memory of
disappointment, and an untrustworthy former publisher who is reissuing his
seminal first novel.
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