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December 2019 Featured Title

The Sign on My Father’s House (2019)

We first met Felix Ryan of Curlew over four decades ago, in Moore’s acclaimed Good-bye, Momma (Breakwater, 1976). The Sign on My Father’s House is Felix’s coming- of-age story, as he wrestles with questions about his future, his identity, and his relationship with his father, Walter, a stubborn come-from-away who loves his adopted home. Set in the late 1960s, it is also a coming-of-age story for Newfoundland as a province of Canada, with tension between modern and traditional ways and a population’s growing love-hate relationship with Joey Smallwood. Readers will journey with Felix through high school and Memorial University, meeting characters such as the beautiful and ambitious Ellen Monteau, best friend and fount of wisdom, Monk, and dope-dealing residence roommate John Malacat. Tom Moore’s lively prose and humour, not to mention the smashing conclusion, makes The Sign on My Father’s House a pleasure to read. Expect to be up all night.

The reader-advocate for The Sign on My Father’s House is John Griffin, library technician with the Provincial Resource Library’s Newfoundland and Labrador Collection. The Sign on My Father’s House is the NL READS 2020 feature book for December.

Author - Tom Moore

Tom Moore was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1950. His first novel, Good-bye, Momma, became a Canadian bestseller. It was chosen as a “Children’s Choice” by the Children’s Book Centre in Toronto. The Canadian Book of Lists called it one of the ten best children’s books in Canada. In 1994, Angels Crying became Moore’s second national bestseller. It is the true story of his student, a sexual assault victim. It has become a case study for a number of university schools of social work. In 2000, The Plains of Madness, a work of historical fiction, won the inaugural Percy Janes Award for best novel manuscript in Newfoundland. His short story The Sign on My Father’s House was published as a winning entry in Canadian Storyteller, Toronto, in the summer of 2004. Other books include The Black Heart, a collection of poetry, and Wilfred Grenfell, a children’s biography, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.


Publisher - Flanker Press

Read more about Flanker Press.

Reader-Advocate - John Griffin, Provincial Resource Library

John has worked for the Public Information and Library Resources Board since 1983. For the last 20 years he has been a Library Technician working with PRL's Newfoundland and Labrador Collection at the A.C. Hunter Public Library in St. John’s. It’s not really work but rather an endless series of question-driven rabbit holes he gets to go down each day. In his spare time he gardens, reads, and takes the occasional bike ride. He lives in The Goulds.

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