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The Sign on My Father's House

Flanker Press


"Felix, you are a dreamer. I used to be, too, but there’s no payoff in it.”

Felix Ryan, from Curlew, Conception Bay, has been in love with the enigmatic Ellen Monteau ever since the day he met her in school at Smallwood High. Friends and family try to warn him that she is nothing but trouble, but she is Helen of Troy and he longs to be her King Menelaus . . . or Prince Paris. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing at home, as Felix’s father erects an enormous sign on his house condemning Premier Joey Smallwood—much to the chagrin of his family and their Liberal neighbours in the early days after Confederation.

This is the uproariously funny and at times heartbreaking tale of a young man's rough ride into adulthood. Felix Ryan is on a journey to discover who he is and where he is headed. He moves from rural Newfoundland to the hectic life of Memorial University in the late 1960s. It is a world of music, girls, and new experiences. Felix's world is changing as the Joey Smallwood era comes to an end. But Ellen Monteau never strays far from his mind. Ultimately, he must choose between continuing his education on the mainland of Canada, or putting down roots at home in Newfoundland.

The Sign on My Father’s House marks Tom Moore’s triumphant and long-anticipated return to literary fiction. It is a story about finding your voice and putting up your own sign about who you are and what you believe.

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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 and was translated into Danish by Munksgaard Publishers of Copenhagen in 1982. It was later translated into Romanian by Cite Libra Publishers. The CBC produced a radio play version broadcast nationally. 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, including Memorial University, Dalhousie University, College of the North Atlantic, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. It was translated into Chinese by New Sprouts Publishers of Taipei in 2002.

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.

His poems have been used as operatic song settings nationally and internationally: poems Ancestors, Songs, and Caplin Scull were broadcast on CBC radio by Lyn Channing of the Music Department, University of Calgary; and his poem Songs was presented by Peter Mannion and the Galway University Choir in Ireland. Ancestors was read at the welcoming ceremony for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Newfoundland and Labrador.

 
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