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The Custodian of Paradise

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Sheilagh Fielding, a 41-year-old alcoholic, moves to a deserted island off of Newfoundland and recalls her life as a 6’3” outcast: getting pregnant at 14, giving up her twins (one will die in WWII) to the mother who abandoned her, becoming a satirical columnist, and suffering a crippled leg from a bout with tuberculosis. Sheilagh wields her scabrous wit to protect herself against a ”world compris[ing] everything not me.” Unfortunately, Wayne Johnston’s preoccupation with a mysterious figure who may or may not be Sheilagh’s father sometimes detracts from The Custodian of Paradise‘s sharp dialogue and evocative natural descriptions.