Three-line book review: The Custodian of Paradise, by Wayne Johnston


“In the waning days of World War II, Sheilagh Fielding makes her way to a deserted island off the coast of Newfoundland. But she soon comes to suspect another presence: that of a man known only as her Provider, who has shadowed her for twenty years. Against the backdrop of Newfoundland’s history and landscape, Fielding is a compelling figure. Taller than most men and striking in spite of her crippled leg, she is both eloquent and subversively funny. Her newspaper columns exposing the foibles and hypocrisies of her native city, St. John’s, have made many powerful enemies for her, chief among them the man who fathered her children twins when she was fourteen. Only her Provider, however, knows all of Fielding’s secrets.”


There’s never been a more unrelatable protagonist than Fielding. Except that our writing improves after a few beers. But as per usual, you don’t realize how attached to the characters you’ve become until the last few chapters. They’re worth holding out for. Pure emotion.

Favourite Quote:

“Every night, overheard, I hear the drone of bombers whose pilots know nothing of the course of history that they are trying to reverse.”


  • October 20 2012

    I read them years ago but I loved both The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Custodian of Paradise. Meant to read them again before our August trip to Newfoundland but ran out of time!

    • October 25 2012

      Ah, I loved “Colony” more! Johnston is easily my favourite author.

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