Winner, Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
Shortlisted, McNally Robinson Book of the Year and ReLit Award (Novel)
Award-winning author Margaret Sweatman has proven herself a virtuoso writer of historical fiction. Yet nothing she has written can prepare you for Mr. Jones.
Emmett Jones is adrift. Having firebombed civilians as a pilot during World War II, Emmett searches for something to cling to when life loses focus. Post-war, he becomes compulsively drawn to John Norfield, a former POW who has found his focus in communism. Set in a time of rampant paranoia, Mr. Jones peels back the veneer of Canadian politics to reveal a nation willing to sacrifice its own. It is a fearful time, a time of "peace" at the onset of the nuclear age. Emmett's existence comes under scrutiny. His relationship with Norfield makes him a target of security forces. His marriage, his job, even his child are the target of investigation. And as the nuclear arms race heats up, Mr. Jones sets himself on a path that will risk the lives of everyone he holds dear.
Evoking the classic works of le Carré and Greene, Sweatman's novel is a shattering exploration of a past where world governments threaten annihilation while training housewives in the proper techniques for sweeping up radioactive dust.
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About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"The paranoid '50s cracked open in unlikely places. Sleek, believable essentail too, like the missing pieces in a long abandoned puzzle." 2 Fred Stenson, author of The Great Karoo
"With consummate skill, Margaret Sweatman brilliantly replicates the Cold War with its pervasive atmosphere of paranoia and doom while seducing the reader's empathy for her characters. Her novel may be 'historical,' but it stands as a stark warning of the ways governments continue to invade and trouble our private lives." Mark Frutkin, author of Fabrizio's Return
"Mr. Jones is suspenseful, evocative, and astonishing in scope. Here is communism as it unfolds in Canada during the '50s and '60s, the repercussions of the Cold War, espionage, and the explosive co-mingling of idealism and ambition. Margaret Sweatman writes all the dangerous fires bravery, betrayal, loyalty, and love. Prose as lyrical and transparent as Ondaatje, as politically astute and fiercely clear-eyed as Didion. This novel burns bright." Lisa Moore, author of February and Caught