The Art of Being Lewis
Long-listed for the 2020 Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and short-listed for the 2020 Nancy Richler Memorial Prize for Fiction.
A middle-aged coming-of-age story about the journeys we take to become ourselves …
East Coast architect Lewis Morton thought he had it all: loving wife and children, dream job, and a house that meets his exacting architectural standards. But after his beloved mentor dies in suspicious circumstances and Lewis gets pulled into a lawsuit that threatens to destroy his career and possibly his life, the respectable identity he has carefully constructed for himself after fleeing his unconventional childhood begins to disintegrate. In trying to build his new future he must first come to terms with his past.
Who is Lewis Morton, and who will he choose to become?
My new novel The Great Goldbergs is forthcoming. It’s a story about the power of family and friendship; the temptation of wealth and power; and the eternal human need to feel like we belong.
This novel will be the third and final one in the very loosely connected “Montreal Trilogy,” which follows the coming of age of three characters as they forge their identities in the face of various challenges. The first two books are Sons and Fathers and The Art of Being Lewis.
I will provide more information about The Great Goldbergs as we approach its release date.
The writer who went out into the cold …
I woke up early one day to discover one of my favourite novelists had just died: John le Carré. Here are my reflections on his writing: Literary thrills: An appreciation of John le Carré.
Release of The New Spice Box: Contemporary Jewish Writing:
Two of my poems, “Heritage” and “Isaac,” appear in this beautiful anthology. Edited by Ruth Panofsky.
Thanks to readers:
Thanks to the Shaar Shalom in Halifax and the Atlantic Jewish Council for recently hosting a Zoom book talk about The Art of Being Lewis. I spoke about the theme of identity in Judaism, literature, and the challenges that Lewis faces in defining his own identity. Participants had a number of great questions, including:
How did I learn about architecture? (It’s Lewis’s profession.)
I’ve always loved architecture and had some books on my shelves. My cousin who gives tours of Montreal architecture when he’s not caring for geriatric patients sent me a book on Montreal architecture when I mentioned to him that I was thinking about writing the book. And I googled a few articles …
Did the character of Lewis come to me early on or did I figure him out as I went?
He came to me early on in part in that embarrassing scene in the park, which I wrote first. From there, I learned more and more about him.
Who are some of my favourite Atlantic Canadian writers?
The novelist David Adams Richards and the poet Alden Nowlan.
If you’d like me to speak at your Zoom book club or book talk, please reach out to me on my Contact Page.
Reading and writing during the novel coronavirus:
You can read my essay on reading and writing during this time of pandemic, in the Literary Review of Canada: “A Novel Situation.”
You can read my my most recent poetic blog post, or “bloem” as I prefer to call them. It’s a poem called “Words to a Young Writer Just Starting Out.”
Praise for The Art of Being Lewis
“A literary page-turner with profound insight into the stories we make our own.”
– Atlantic Books Today
“The novel’s cast of characters is sketched with care, down to the cut of their suit, the confidence expressed in their stance, the set of their expression in an awkward social setting. In its attention to detail The Art of Being Lewis is a contemporary version of the novel of manners by Jane Austen or George Eliot. Goodwin shifts the focus from a female central figure toward male customs, character and behaviour.”
– Norman Raavin, Canadian Jewish News
An “affecting” book that shows how “defining yourself isn’t something you do once and for all in early adulthood, but is an ongoing art.”
– Elizabeth McCausland, Event Magazine
“Daniel Goodwin’s The Art of Being Lewis is a smart, funny and warmhearted novel in the spirit and lineage of Mordecai Richler.”
– David Bezmozgis, author of The Betrayers and Natasha and Other Stories
“Daniel Goodwin’s poetry and novels are always filled with deep insights into the confused state of modern masculinity. The Art of Being Lewis is his best work so far: a sad, hilarious, philosophical novel that blends fine writing and forward momentum. You will think about Lewis, his humiliations and regular triumphs, before falling asleep at night (if you can stop to turn out the light).”
– Todd Babiak, author of Come Barbarians and Son of France
“Imagine if, one fine day, your meticulously structured world fell apart. For Lewis Morton, a successful architect, it’s as if one of his buildings has collapsed over his head, burying in the rubble his sense of purpose and even his sanity. In this insightful, well-crafted and warm-hearted novel, Daniel Goodwin shows us that the materials upon which we build our lives should include the tricky yet essential blend of steel and imagination. This is that essential story of how to build a house that can properly be called a home.”
– David Layton, author of The Dictator
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Last but certainly not least, I hope you and yours are staying healthy and safe during this time.