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The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
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2018 Reading Challenge > May 2018: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

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Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
This is our chosen book for May. I am picking my copy up at the library today. Hope some of you are able to join in with this group read. I am looking forward to learning about Newfoundland, a place I have not visited but would love to.


message 2: by Tracey (last edited Apr 30, 2018 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


message 3: by Tracey (last edited Apr 30, 2018 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
I am a 100 pages in and am already drawn into the story. At this point the most memorable chapter for me was the episode of the sealers and the hard life they led. Having recently read Moby Dick I recognize the same tribute made to men who may have had to do a cruel hard job so as to save their families from starvation. People today complain so much about conditions in workplaces but looking back, previous generations would have thought we have it easy, which compared to them, we do. A very moving chapter on their courage and sacrifice.


Tara Million I'm still waiting for my copy of the book to come in at the library but I'm really looking forward to trying this one. I haven't read much about Newfoundland and I'd like to start changing that.

I've read a great book about whaling but it was American unfortunately - In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. It's also related to Moby Dick because it's about the Essex which was one of the inspirations for Hawthorne. I totally agree with that Tracey said about how hard that work must have been!


Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
I have read the first 3 parts. The first part, detailing Smallwood and Fielding's school years I thoroughly enjoyed. Part 2 set in New York was not as interesting but the book picks up again in part 3 when Smallwood is back in Newfoundland.
What I am enjoying the most are the newspaper columns and history of Newfoundland written by Fielding. Her irony is very amusing and smart. Out of all the characters I feel sorry the most for her. She seems to be a woman who is unable to believe the man can do any good from choice and as a result is a very lonely cynical woman; yet at heart she has a flicker of desire/hope that she is wrong.


Rosemarie | 195 comments I will be reading this later in the year, so it is good to know you are enjoying it.


message 7: by Tracey (last edited May 09, 2018 07:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
I will start using spoiler alert for my comments. Comments on part 4:

(view spoiler)


Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
I have finished and gave the book 4.5 stars.
I knew next to nothing about Newfoundland before I read this well written book, but now I have an understanding of it's history, geography and people. One of the main characters is Joey Smallwood who was a real person; the main force that brought the Dominion of Newfoundland into the Confederation of Canada in 1949, and Newfoundland's first Premier. He worked throughout his life towards bettering the lot of the poor who lived in harsh living and working conditions. This is a book which I think one day will be seen as a classic alongside Dickens; with it's cast of characters and depicting the poor and downtrodden.


Tara Million I have read about 125 pages so far and I'm really enjoying it. The weather in Newfoundland is almost one of the characters! The story reminds me a bit of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, although this book is going to cover a much longer scope of time I can tell. So far I have been most struck by how British the schools that Joe and Sheilagh attended were and by the descriptions of the frozen seal hunters who were found on the ice.


message 10: by Tara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tara Million I'm half way through the book and I have to say that overall I don't like Joe Smallwood. He's self-absorbed and self-serving and the way he treats the women in his life is pretty abysmal. On the plus side, I now understand the cover image of my edition and really enjoyed reading about his walk through Sectionville. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston

As well, it's interesting watching Sheilagh develop throughout the novel and seeing what course her life takes. Although I'm not sure if I like her, I do have some sympathy for her.


Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "I'm half way through the book and I have to say that overall I don't like Joe Smallwood. He's self-absorbed and self-serving and the way he treats the women in his life is pretty abysmal. On the pl..."

I agree that Joe does not come across as the most altruistic of men. But I have met very few politicians who are :)


message 12: by Tara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tara Million I finished the book and gave it 3 stars primarily because I found that I had to keep on pushing myself to keep reading it.

I really liked the descriptions of Newfoundland and the trips through different parts of Newfoundland that Smallwood takes over the years. The lives of everyday people who lived on the land and sea at that time sounded amazingly difficult and I thought the author did a good job depicting that.

On the other hand, I wasn't able to engage very well with the characters - especially as they aged. I didn't find myself very invested in whether Smallwood's life was going to turn out the way he wanted it to or not because I didn't like him very much. However, I did like how the love/hate triangle between Smallwood, Fielding, and Prowse was resolved at the end, as well as how the mystery of the letter was wrapped up.

Overall, it was an interesting read about a part of Canada that I didn't know very much about before.


message 13: by Tara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tara Million Tracey wrote: "Tara wrote: "I'm half way through the book and I have to say that overall I don't like Joe Smallwood. He's self-absorbed and self-serving and the way he treats the women in his life is pretty abysm..."

That's certainly true! The author does a great job with not romantacizing Joe and instead presenting him as a flawed and very human person with a mix of good and bad characteristics.


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