First Snow, Last Light

First Snow, Last Light

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
--The Colony of Unrequited Dreams Ned Vatcher, only 14, ambles home from school in the chill hush that precedes the first storm of the winter of 1936 to find the house locked, the family car missing, and his parents gone without a trace. From that point on, his life is driven by the need to find out what happened to the Vanished Vatchers. His father, Edgar, born to a poor family of fishermen, had risen to become the right-hand man to the colony's prime minister, then suffered an unexpected fall from grace. Were he and his wife murdered? Was it suicide? Had they run away? If so, why had they left their only child behind? Ned soon finds himself enmeshed in another family, that of his missing father and the poverty from which the man somehow escaped. His grandparents, Nan and Reg, his Uncle Cyril and others, are themselves haunted by the inexplicable disappearance of a third Vatcher, a young man who was lost at sea on a calm and sunny day years earlier. Two other people loom large as Ned becomes Newfoundland's first media mogul, building an empire to insulate him from loss: a Jesuit priest named Father Duggan, and Sheilagh Fielding, a boozy giantess who, while wandering the city streets at night, composes satiric columns that scandalize the rich and powerful. In Ned, Fielding sees a surrogate for her two lost children, the secret that dogs her life, while Ned believes the enigmatic Fielding to be his soulmate. The novel builds to a spectacular resolution of the mystery of all the Vanished Vatchers. Only Wayne Johnston could create such larger-than-life, mythic characters embroiled in events that leave us contemplating not only their tragedies and triumphs, but the forces that compel us all to act in ways that surprise and sometimes terrify us.
Publisher: Toronto :, Knopf Canada,, 2017
ISBN: 9780735272583
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 20, 2018

I did very much enjoy the characters that Johnston penned. It was a compelling story; however, there were times when I felt he could get on with it a little more quickly.

Sep 09, 2018

Now who would have known a Canadian author could be so engrossing and write a novel one couldn't put down. On the basis of "The Colony of Unrequited Dreams" set in Newfoundland with THE Joey Smallwood as one of the main protagonists I just had to read "First Snow...".It's almost a sequel to "Colony...". One of the most fascinating characters, a woman who simply goes goes by her surname, Fielding is developed beyond the hints and intimation of the former novel.
By the time I'd finished the book I was left with the conclusion that Newfoundlanders drink and are drunk most of the time; that they're all poor; that they have huge families; that they all feel slighted by their relatives; and that the weather in St. John's varies between bad and atrocious
It is advised that Johnston be read in the company of warm clothing or blankets and in the company of a bottle of Screech..

patcumming Aug 03, 2018

The characterization in this book is so rich and the plot engrossing. Johnston is a masterful storyteller. Fielding is one of my all time favourite Canlit characters.

Jun 09, 2018

I loved every word, beginning to end. At times, I felt moved to tears. These characters leave an imprint of the essential Canadian and currents of impressions of people I know and, I’m sure we all know, are scattered throughout.

Nov 25, 2017

I loved this book which was satisfying on so many levels from beginning to end.
The characters have a depth and psychological complexity that makes them individually credible. At the heart of this book is the power that secrets hold on those who keep them and this drives the story in a riveting and suspenseful way.
As a Newfoundlander himself, Wayne Johnson deftly paints the landscape, the light and the weather in Newfoundland. His prose is poetic and often the dialogue, especially that of Sheilagh Fielding, is astonishing in its quickness of wit.

ontherideau Oct 31, 2017

I had a love hate relationship with this book, at times it meandered on but I could not put it down till the last word was read.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at WPL

To Top