The Museum Guard

Picador, 2000

DeFoe Russet works with his uncle Edward as a guard in Halifax's three-room Glace Museum. He and his uncle disturb the silence of the museum with heated conversations that prove them to be "opposites at life." Away from the museum, DeFoe courts the affection of Imogen Linny, the young caretaker of the small Jewish cemetery. Everything changes when Imogen, inspired by the arrival of a painting, Jewess on a Street in Amsterdam, abandons Halifax for the ennobled life she imagines for the painting's subject - even amid the gorwing perilousness of being a Jew in Amsterdam. Set against the impending events of World War II, The Museum Guard, the second book of his Canadian trilogy, explores the mysteries of identity and self-determination, and the desire to step our of the ordinary into an alluring and dangerous sphere of action.