The Prisoner and the Chaplain
October 3, 2017
246 PAGES | ISBN 978-1-928088-43-1
**Long shortlisted for the 2018 ReLit Award for Novels**
What if prison was the only world that existed for you now and everything else was a story? What if you weren’t sure if you were guilty but wanted forgiveness in any form? The Prisoner and the Chaplain is about two men; one man awaiting execution, the other man listening to his story. As the hours drain away, the chaplain must decide if the prisoner’s story is an off-the-cuff confession or a last bid for salvation. As the chaplain listens he realizes a life has many stories, and he has his own story to tell – a last-ditch plea for forgiveness told to someone who will never be able to repeat it. Each man is guilty in his own way, and their stories have led them to the same room, a room that only one of them will leave alive. If you had only twelve hours left to live, what would you have to say?
Reviews | Interviews | Articles | Excerpt | About the Author
The Prisoner and the Chaplain ~ Michelle Berry (Lynn Willoughby, Gateway Gazette, 13/01/2018)
"The author is able to develop a very engaging plot and real people in these twelve short hours. It is not for the faint of heart, but I certainly recommend this read. I don’t know when I have felt so engaged, so filled with dread, so attuned to two personalities, so reminded to live in the present. I WILL be reading more of Berry’s books."
The Prisoner and the Chaplain by Michelle Berry (Naomi, Consumed by Ink, 11/01/2018)
"One of the things I like best about the story is the structure. Each chapter is an hour closer to the time of execution, and as the book goes on you feel the tension building as the Chaplain keeps his eye on the clock, dreading what’s to come. It feels like a thriller as we find out how the Prisoner’s story ends."
The Prisoner and the Chaplain, by Michelle Berry (Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This, 13/11/2017)
"It is a testament to the novel and a mark of its success that it’s just so unsettling. It’s not every book that creeps into your head like that, gets right into your dreams."
Review: Michelle Berry’s The Prisoner and the Chaplain, Carys Cragg’s Dead Reckoning and Lynn Gehl’s Claiming Anishinaabe (Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail, 10/11/2017)
"Because this is a novel, we as readers get to be psychologically promiscuous: We know Larry's truth to a degree we cruelly cannot know another person in real life. This is what haunts both men: the mystery of other people, and the ways we remain mysterious even to ourselves."
Reviews: The Prisoner and the Chaplain (Adam Nayman, Quill and Quire, October 2017 Issue)
Michelle Berry's The Prisoner and the Chaplain is a matter of life and death (Sue Carter, Metro News, 09/20/2017)
"But that feeling of containment eventually led to her new novel, The Prisoner and the Chaplain, published by Hamilton’s Wolsak & Wynn, a tightly paced, story-conversation set in a prison death row, with one heck of a twist ending."
Ontario Morning from CBC Radio with Wei Chen (Wei Chen, CBC Radio, 29/01/2020)
Michelle recommends some uplifting reads.
Interview with Hunter Street Books (Vanessa Westermann, Vanessa's Picks, 15/01/2019)
Advice for young writers: "Make sure you read a lot. [I]f you don’t read – and I mean read deeply, read as a writer, look for what makes you think, look for what makes you lose yourself in a book and then ask yourself what the writer did to cause that – if you don’t read you might as well give up."
Get Lit episode for 2017-11-09 (CFMU, 09/11/2017)
An interview with Michelle Berry.
The Jael Richardson Reading List (49th Shelf, 28/01/2021)
Michelle's novel makes Jael Richardson's reading list!
Highlights of 2018 (Naomi, Consumed by Ink, 09/01/2019)
Michelle's book is on Naomi's list of the best books of 2018
Reading Challenge #12: Fiction Featuring a Faith-Based Character (Shoilee Khan, the FOLD, 10/12/2018)
Michelle's book is on the FOLD's reading challenge #12: Fiction Featuring A Faith-based Character.
Five Years of Consumed by Ink: 100 Recommended Canadian Books (Naomi, Consumed by Ink, 16/11/2018)
Michelle's book makes Naomi's five-year anniversary list of the 100 best Canadian books she's read for her blog so far.
Readers and authors gather for Lakefield Literary Festival (Clifford Skarstedt, The Peterborough Examiner, 15/07/2018)
Michelle Berry's Hand-Sells (Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf, 20/11/2017)
Michelle Berry recommends a list of Canadian books she sells in her store, Hunter Street Books.
Jael Richardson's book pick: The Prisoner and the Chaplain by Michelle Berry (Jael Richardson, CBC Radio, 15/11/2017)
"I love looking at where faith meets reality… It's often hard to find small press books in big box stores… Canada presents really great writing and really great books and indie presses!"
Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Fiction Preview (Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf, 07/10/2017)
"In The Prisoner and the Chaplain (October), Michelle Berry has written a parable about the value of stories and the cost of guilt."
Most Anticipated Fall 2017 Books (Mark Medley, Globe and Mail, 13/08/2017)
"The novelist-turned-bookseller (Berry is the proprietor of Peterborough's Hunter Street Books) delivers a novel about guilt and forgiveness; as the title suggests, it's about two men, one of whom is spending his last night on Earth."
Michelle Berry is the author of three books of short stories and five previous novels. Her short story collection I Still Don’t Even Know Youwon the 2011 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book Published by a Manitoba Publisher and was shortlisted for a 2011 ReLit Award, and her novel This Book Will Not Save Your Life won the 2010 Colophon Award and was longlisted for the 2011 ReLit Award. her writing has been optioned for film and published in the UK.
Berry was a reviewer for the Globe and Mail for many years, and teaches online for the University of Toronto and is often a mentor at Humber College. Berry now lives in Peterborough, ON, where she operates an independent bookstore, Hunter Street Books.