Publisher: Canada:Knopf 2011
Format: Hardcover, 320 pgs.
On Sale Date: August 9 2011
Long-listed for the 2013 Dublin Impac Award.
Selected by Mail on Sunday as one of four books of the week.
A World Elsewhere
A World Elsewhere has all the hallmarks of Wayne John- ston's most beloved, entertaining novels: humour and emotion in fine balance, larger than life characters, dreams of ambition that threaten to overpower their makers, the rich evocation of place and history—and here an unexpected, unforgettable relationship be- tween a father and his adopted child that forms the beating heart of the story.
This sweeping tale immerses us in the life of St. John's, Princeton University, and North Carolina at the close of the nineteenth century. Young Landish Druken is a formidable figure as he sets off from Newfoundland for the famed American university. Quick-witted, broader than most doorways, he is the only son of a notorious sealer who expects Landish to continue his legacy. But at Princeton, Landish is be- friended, surprisingly, by "Van" Vanderluyden, son of the wealthiest man in America, and caught up in a life he had never imagined.
Expelled in disgrace, he returns to St. John's where, in an odd twist of fate, he adopts an infant boy. Out- cast, fighting off destitution, he raises Deacon alone with no knowledge or tools other than trust, humour and compassion. But when poverty overwhelms them, they make the long journey to North Carolina to seek help from Landish's one-time friend. There, living in the greatest American castle of the gilded age, they are swiftly pulled into a web of lies, deceit, and mur- der that threatens the bond between them.
A World Elsewhere is a beautiful, compelling novel that offers us new understanding of the meaning of love and loyalty, friendship and family.
"Drawing on the real-life Vanderbilt legend, this is a strange, utterly original novel, essentially about fathers and sons" - Mail on Sunday - see more
"As in such earlier work as The Colony Of Unrequited Dreams, The Navigator Of New York and in his prize winning memoir, Baltimore's Mansion, Wayne Johnston knows how to tell a good story" Nancy Schiefer - London Free Press - see more
"Read it and revel in one of the funniest books that will move you to a deeper sense of the poignancy of human experience" T.F. Rigelhof - The Globe and Mail - see more
See also, this review in The Guardian.