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The Mystery of Right and Wrong by Wayne Johnston
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The Mystery of Right and Wrong

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The Mystery of Right and Wrong by Wayne Johnston
Paperback $17.95
May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780735281653

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  • May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780735281653

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  • Sep 21, 2021 | ISBN 9780735281639

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  • Sep 21, 2021 | ISBN 9780735281646

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The Mystery of Right and Wrong is among the most disturbing books I have ever read. With the intensity of a thriller, the intimacy of a diary, Wayne Johnston maps the warped world that people create for themselves, then force others to live within. It twists history and herstory, fiction and fact, into a dark fairy tale, an epic poem, a case study of pathology, a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Johnston shows us how hard it is to escape our family’s reach and how easily our coping mechanisms can become prisons of their own. An absolutely unforgettable novel. As morally and formally challenging as Nabokov. I’m still reeling.” Ian Williams, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of Reproduction

The Mystery of Right and Wrong is unyieldingly intense, a harrowing portrait of a family mired in madness, dark secrets and the long-term impact of sexual abuse that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.” —Calgary Herald

“I don’t expect to read, this year, anything more disturbing, more powerful, more brave, or more amazingly written than this latest from Wayne Johnston. You have to wonder how he kept this one inside him all this time.” —Linwood Barclay


“If St. John’s looms large in the Canadian literary psyche, this is due in no small measure to the novels of Wayne Johnston, a native of Newfoundland’s capital city and one of its most diligent chroniclers.” —Quill & Quire

“[Johnston is] a literary giant who has god-given talent.”Will Ferguson, The Globe and Mail

“Wayne Johnston spins wonderful stories; he is a gather-you-round-and-I-will-enchant-you raconteur. He has absorbed the world around him—the tall tales, the history, the epic of a place—and adapted it to a narrative style that is clearly his own. His stories charm and beguile. He writes about the ordinary and extraordinary people of Newfoundland with great empathy and without a shred of sentimentality. At the same time his fiction has a mythic quality: Smallwood walking across the island through drifted snow; a father and son surviving a long trek through winter woods by holding onto a horse and one another; an iceberg with the likeness of the Virgin Mary. Wayne Johnston’s fiction is subtle, his passion understated, his humour underpinned by tragedy. All of his work, superbly written, is a powerful combination of insight, talent and revelation. It is made to endure.” Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award jury citation (David Bergen, Joan Clark and Miriam Toews)

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