Bishop’s Road

bishop's road

Mrs. Miflin’s boarding house on Bishop’s Road was a convent until the Sisters of Joy dried up suddenly and blew away. It is large with many rooms, not accustomed to noise or quick movement though it is quite familiar with haunted dreams. Eve has been alive since God was a youngster. Maggie doesn’t speak and hasn’t a clue how she got here. Ruth is tired of living. Sits all day at a third-floor window. Watching. Ginny Mustard spends much of her time walking the waterfront. Looking for music. Judy is the most recent arrival and with her comes a wonderful disturbance. It hitched a ride in her pocket and finding the inhabitants of Mrs. Miflin’s house needing a little more than they had bargained for, has decided to stay awhile. With the moon’s blessing it creeps under doors and through closets leaving smudges of itself on shirts and underwear, photographs and letters. It goes to the attic for a quick look around before sliding under a pillow to nap.

Praise for Bishop’s Road:

“Bishop’s Road is a keeper. It has the loveable characters of Maeve Binchy, the magic realism of Alice Hoffman, combined with the insightful quirkiness of Anne Tyler…one of the most memorable novels of the year…How the lives of these unique characters intertwine, makes for a delightful reading experience…The novel is…one of the most memorable books of the year.”

– W.P. Kinsella, Books in Canada

“Life lessons surface and bob like corks on Safer’s buoyant prose. ‘Anyone knows that if you allow yourself too much happiness you court disaster. IF you dare to relax and assume life is grand, well then, it simply has to up and prove otherwise. That’s all there is to it.’ When the doleful bits move from general too personal, they can hit home…”

Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail, Toronto

“Safer writes with authority, wit and dash. St. John’s is described with a keen eye and a touch of mystery… Her style is her own, and it is sure, and poetic, with lots of humour and energy and unique phrasings.”

– Joan Sullivan, The Telegram, St. John’s

“It’s a ghost story for people who don’t like ghost stories, a mystery for people who couldn’t care less whodunit, an antidote for those who overdosed on The Shipping News.”

– Robin McGrath, The Northeast Avalon Times, Newfoundland

“Bishop’s Road is a magic and moving story that eludes description…The novel heralds the talent of a very original voice. Catherine Safer has created a novel of complexity and compassion.”

– Mary Jo Anderson, The Nova Scotian

“In Bishop’s Road, first-time novelist, Catherine Safer has composed a love song to St. John’s, NL, with lyrics that would make Cole Porter, Stan Rogers – or even Ron Hynes –proud…suffused with a life-affirming wonderment that reveals the interconnectedness with the world and embraces life’s eccentrics…”

– Bretton Loney, The Daily News, Halifax

“Here is a scene that will stay with me forever. Judy has found the perfect place to hide from her parole officer, in unconscious Frankie’s hospital room:
She has pulled her cot closer to Frankie’s bed, the better to read to him quietly, and sometimes at night she holds his hand, cool as it is, almost stiff, and the warmth from her strong body lights a small spark in him. She cries a little for him. Cries for herself. Cries for total strangers who seem to hurt…For the girl with mohair, nothing but skin and bones and freckles on her face, walking ever so slowly with her worn-out mother.

– Helen Fogwill Porter, The Fiddlehead, Fredericton, New Brunswick

Judges’ comments, 2004 in Canada First Novel Award

“Bishop’s Road jumped off the page at me, playfully rendering the stories of as colourful a bunch of women as we’re ever likely to meet.”

– Bill Gaston, author, Mount Appetite and Gargoyles

“…an unusual book…Safer floored me with her grasp of story, character, and most particular of all, her avoidance of all the novels she didn’t write…it is a tribute to the author that she ploughs her own field…a well-wrought world, this book.”

– Michael Winter, author, This All Happened and The Architects Are Here

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