The Prisoner and the Chaplain

The Prisoner and the Chaplain

by Michelle Berry
  • from-ontario
  • literary
  • thriller
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?


Michelle Berry, author

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 You won 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.


  • 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. - Kerry Clare, Pickle Me this Link to review
  • 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. - Naomi, Consumed by Ink Link to review
  • 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. - Lynn Willoughby, Gateway Gazette Link to review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Cooke International



rights available: World, excl. North America

Additional Information

number of pages: 280

publication date: 10/03/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book