The Artificial Newfoundlander is a witty, playful, tale of contemporary St. John’s.
Hugh Norman, a middle-aged English prof researching an eccentric novelist priest, is faced with the unexpected arrivals of his mysteriously unhappy daughter, her clueless husband, and an old flame ready for rekindling. Relationships morph, lines are crossed, and Hugh confronts some unpalatable but laugh-inducing dilemmas.
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“A wry, funny, insightful, clever book.”
“The best sort of catty fun … with claws.”
“Larry Mathews is a searing and silver tongued wit. He writes with tuned precision and care, but he is offbeat and great fun to read. His juicy Newfoundland novel is a mystery of sorts, but there is another mystery hidden in its pages, whether a book can be barbed and satirical and yet lovingly lyrical at the same time. Is this feat possible? Mathews pulls it off with aplomb and I’m a fan.”
– Mark Anthony Jarman, author of My White Planet and Ireland’s Eye
“…a ferociously witty yet amiably comic send-up of academia in the tradition of Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Richard Russo’s Straight Man. Exuberantly packed with character, story, surprising twists, the novel tracks the summer adventures of a professor on a quest for an unknown Canadian novelist, all the while repairing relations with his alienated and evasive daughter and falling in love with a feminist poet more adept at house repair than he is. Whimsical and poignant, generous in its judgments, the novel is ultimately sane, humane and wise, a charming read, hard to put down.”
-Douglas Glover, Governor General’s Literary Award Winner for Elle
“This is all set in a blazingly contemporary St. John’s, a city of films and cafes, art projects and bars, afternoon runs around Quidi Vidi lake and late nights walking uphill from Duckworth Street pubs… Mathews is the genuine article.”
-Joan Sullivan, The Telegram
“Mathews’ first novel provides an interesting and, at times, humorous account of the relationships of Professor Hugh Norman and his life in contemporary Newfoundland.”
-Clare O’Connor, Atlantic Books Today
“From the tongue-in-cheek first line onward, Larry Mathews had me hooked. The Artificial Newfoundlander is a genuinely funny, thoroughly engaging story told with wit, lyricism, and a raucous narrative drive.”
-Samuel Thomas Martin, Dark Art Cafe (samuelthomasmartin.wordpress.com)
“If you are a lover of Lisa More and a maniac for Michael Winter, like me, then The Artificial Newfoundlander is a treasure the likes of the Rosetta Stone. It’s a zany and rowdy look at both our East Cost openness and the over-analytical English studies, all delivered with Richler-like cleverness.”
-Mike Landry, Telegraph-Journal
“Mathews’ sense of the absurdity of academic life is close on hilarious, and his take on the sometimes overblown St. John’s art scene even funnier.”
-Jean Graham, The Northeast Avalon Times
“A fast-paced and vibrant story filled with a cast of off kilter yet entirely realistic characters. This is a great, gut-busting read.”
-Chad Pelley, ArtsEast
“The novel engages with the deeper topics of place, family, and literature. It prompts us to consider not where a person is from in determining who they are, but how he relates to the important people in his life, and how he makes a place his home.”
-Jennifer Bowering Delisle, Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, Fall 2010