The Navigator of New York

Wayne Johnston, author of the Newfoundland masterpiece The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, opens his new novel The Navigator of New York (Doubleday, $27.95) back on St. John’s. It’s 1897. Seventeen-year-old Devlin Stead has lost his mother to an apparent suicide and his apparent father to the Arctic. When a letter arrives from a New York-based polar explorer who claims to be his real father, Devlin trades in a ”massive, empty island” for a ”crammed and tiny one.”

Johnston is a tender tour guide, whether describing the Rock or the ice or old Manhattan: ”’They say that at night, from the high point of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan looks like the sky…. Constellations of lights with nothing but darkness in between them.”’ And he feels great sympathy for his young hero — a Newfie boy adrift in the world, desperate for family, struggling to learn how to love and be loved without losing oneself. The author, a masterful plotter whose wise words sing and stab, lights the way.

The Navigator of New York
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