When Tom Vincent's father dies on Edward Lank's foundry floor, Lank's way of making amends is to offer the fourteen-year-old the stewardship of a store on isolated Reach Run Island.
This telling scene reveals a great deal about life in Newfoundland circa 1900. It is also the beginning of the odyssey of Tom Vincent storekeeper, book lover, telegrapher, fisherman, farmer, healer, union organizer, politician and visionary.
With both a storyteller's gift for narrative pacing and a poet's ear for the
power of language, Gordon Rodgers makes Tom Vincent's journey a memorable
read. Spanning from the 1870s through the First World War, A Settlement
of Memory is a rich evocation of people and place.
Rodgers peoples the novel with compelling characters from Madeline Lane, a woman caught between difficult choices, to Hammond Janes, a journalist who learns observation as a child watching the great fire of 1892.
Though this is a work of fiction, it is also solidly grounded in Newfoundland's rich and troubled history, particularly its labour history. In constructing a fictional parallel to William Coaker and the Fishermen's Protective Union, Rodgers mines the wealth of tension and possibility inherent in the relationships between fishermen and merchants, between social entrenchment and change, and between the highly individual nature of Newfoundland's communities and people and the forces of official authority.
Constructed with passionate attention to detail, A Settlement of Memory
both imagines the past and explores the power and limitations of vision
to shape the future.
About the Author
Gordon Rodgers holds
an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.
His writing has appeared
in literary journals and magazines throughout Canada, and has often been
anthologized. He is the author of a novella, The Phoenix, and two
books of poetry, Floating Houses and The Pyrate Latitudes.
A Settlement of Memory is his first novel.
Gordon was born in
Gander, Newfoundland, in 1952. Before attending UBC he completed degrees
in psychology and education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, then
worked, for various periods of time, as a psychologist, university lecturer,
and government research assistant.