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Sylvanus Now Paperback – May 17 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Paperback, May 17 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada; 1 edition (May 17 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143014250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143014256
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,722,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Amazon

Sylvanus Now, the hero of Donna Morrissey's moving third novel, is a man with modest ambitions--he wants to fish in the old way, like his father before him, and he wants to marry Adelaide, the beautiful girl he spied once at a dance in Ragged Rock. Newfoundland's fishery, however, is on the verge of catastrophic change, and Adelaide proves more of an enigma than the rugged, black-browed Sylvanus imagines. Set in the early 1950s, against the backdrop of the collapse of the salt-fish industry, Sylvanus Now combines a passionate critique of government short-sightedness with a tender love story about two people who probably shouldn't have married but did.

Morrissey's lushly written narrative, steeped in outport dialect ("Cripes, why don't you ask Am for a spot on his liner? You're getting like father, bandied at the knees from straddling a boat"), alternates between Sylvanus's and Adelaide's points of view. While Sylvanus clings to his traditional ways with a reckless tenacity, Addie is a fireball of conflicting emotions, forever spewing invective or else brooding in silence. Forced to drop out of school by her perennially pregnant mother, she rails against fishing ("she prayed that each fish caught would be the last in the sea") and babies ("their grubby little hands forever snatching, picking and scratching"). Yet, before long, she finds herself married to her fisherman suitor and expecting their first child--a recipe for disaster if ever there was one. Sylvanus Now owes much to the tradition of naturalistic working-class fiction that produced Frank Parker Day's Rockbound--not surprising when one recalls that Morrissey championed Day's novel during the 2005 Canada Reads debate on CBC Radio. Like Rockbound, this quietly unassuming historical novel celebrates old-fashioned values like perseverance, and is bound to bring a tear to the eye. --Lisa Alward

About the Author

Donna Morrissey is the award-winning author of four adult novels—Kit’s Law, Downhill Chance, Sylvanus Now, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and What They Wanted—as well as the Gemini Award–winning screenplay Clothesline Patch. Morrissey grew up in The Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland, and now lives in Halifax.

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