The Museum Guard (Canadian Trilogy #2)
Orphaned by a zeppelin crash at age nine, DeFoe Russet was raised in a Halifax, Nova Scotia, hotel by his magnetic uncle Edward. Now thirty, DeFoe works with Edward as a guard in Halifax's three-room Glace Museum. He and his uncle disturb the silence of the museum with heated conversations that prove them to be "opposites at life." Away from the museum, DeFoe courts the af...more
An extraordinary novel by the author of "The Bird Artist".
There are certain things you can rely on in a book by Howard Norman: distinctly quirky protagonists, odd names, a relatively remote Canadian location, and a dynamite opening sentence -
"The painting I stole for Imogen Linny, Jewess on a Street in Amsterdam , arrived to the Glace Museum, here in Halifax, on September 5, 1938."
That's the voice of DeFoe Russet, the main protagonist of "The Museum Guard". He ...more
It is 1938 and young D ...more
I have to think about this a bit. What is bothering me is where the characters end up at the end of the novel. What is bothering and yet at the same time intriguing me is my uncertainty. What is the author trying to say and do I agree and are the characters believable? There is a lot to th ...more
The Museum Guard takes place in Halifax, Canada.
What? Where? Who writes books about Canada? I mean who cares?
The Museum Guard takes place just before World War II when Canada was rife with tension over the impending war they felt t ...more
This was near the top of my to-read list for a long time, based on some rave reviews I had remembered from long ago. But even though the book held my attention and created some of the most distinctive characters I've encountered in fiction, its strangeness and the flat narration of its protagonist finally did me in.
Defoe Russett is one of two guards in a small art museum in Halifax. He has been raised by his neer do well uncle, the other guard, in a local hotel, after Defoe's parents were killed ...more
I thought the author did a great job with the tone of the novel, a sort of sparse, dead, dreary tone. But during some moments of the novel, I wanted some kind of emotion and felt little from the characters. Even when Edward died or ...more
One of the reasons is that, for me, the book has the low key qualities of an old black and white movie --- a film of the 40's that lasts 90 minutes with a focus on one character's interior life, voice overs, very few sets, major supporting roles, and a number of character actors. That is, it leaves a lot to the imagination.
The other reason is simply the perfect fit between the story and the character of the museum guard, ...more
1. The book really tapped into and used loneliness. The author is obviously well versed in the character of the earnest but solitary young man, as well as what this man could become in the future (the jaded, isolated fellow). Finding one's self true self (and not) was a running theme.
2. Simple writing style--anyone who was interested would find this book palatable. This is especially ni ...more
“ ‘He has a thick accent, mind you; even if a word’s got only one syllable’” (42).
“ ‘Let’s talk about her face. Some might consider it a bit—what’s the correct word?—“dour.” But do you know what? If dour is her natural look, it means—it means when her face brightens, you notice’” (118-119). **As someone whose face has often been described thus, or as “serious,” I doubly appreci ...more
Currently they have an exhibition with paintings from the Netherlands, and DeFoes girlfriend - a jewish cemetry caretake - is obsessed with a painting called "Jewess on a Street in Amsterdam".
I gave up about halfway through the book. It just didn't keep me interested. The sto ...more
So too, with his characters. I feel I know them. I might not necessarily like them but, nevertheless, they intrigue me.
Once again, as in the Bird Artist, an e ...more
Maybe I'll read it again some time this year and update this rev ...more