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The Museum Guard

by Howard Norman

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psychological, non-classifiable, literary
list price: $18.95
category: Fiction
published: 1999
publisher: Knopf Canada
imprint: Vintage Canada

An exquisite and harrowing new novel about ordinary lives swept up in the chaos of history, as the shadow of WWII touches Halifax.

Defoe Russet, orphaned at age nine by a Zeppelin crash, has grown up in the care of his magnetic uncle Edward. Now twenty-five, he works as a guard at the Glace Museum in Halifax. But, caught up in a tormenting love affair with Imogen Linny, the caretaker of the small Jewish cemetery, he finds himself unexpectedly catapulted into the horrors of war.

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Contributor notes

Howard Norman has lived, worked and travelled throughout the Canadian Arctic and subarctic for many years, writing about language and culture, wildlife and natural history. All his novels are set in Canada, and the first two, The Northern Lights (set in Manitoba and Toronto) and The Bird Artist (set in turn-of-the-century Newfoundland) were finalists for the National Book Award in the US. He has also edited Northern Tales, Folktales from Canada, Greenland and Siberia, and a collection of arctic folktales, The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese. The Mermaid Theatre Company (Nova Scotia) will tour a drama for children based on the latter in their 1999-2000 season.

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Editorial Review

"A haunting story of obsession and loss."  - The Toronto Star

"A world where the drama of life can overstep time and space -- and souls are lost, found and reinvented. The Maritime city...becomes a fog-bound, claustrophobic cross-roads in which domestic drama and the great sweep of history intersect."  - Maclean's

"[The Museum Guard] fairly glimmers with the originality of his complexly tragic vision...The denouement...has a Gothic power, a power intensified by the very leanness and clarity of Howard's prose."  - The Halifax Chronicle-Herald

"Artfully combines beauty and dread on every page...Exquisite...intensely beautiful and oddly disturbing."  - The Hamilton Spectator

"A comedy of doomed love--His take on the many ways we kid ourselves is spot-on."  - Saturday Night

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