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Fiction Family Life

Autobiography of Childhood

by (author) Sina Queyras

Coach House Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
Family Life, General, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2011
    List Price

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A finalist for the 36th annual First Novel Award!


The Combals are not unacquainted with death: they have never quite recovered from the loss of one of them in childhood. And now, on Valentine's Day, they are losing another.?

Guddy races to see her sister, Jerry and Bjarne avoid the phone and its news, Jean finds himself on a beach, and Annie fends off her mother's persistent questions about what's happening. And Therese tries to forgive them all before it's too late.?

As each is forced to face the news of Therese's impending death, their actions weave a nuanced portrait of a family, of the devastating reach of childhood grief.

What if thinking is all we have at the end of the day? What if how we react really is all we can control? This transcendent first novel from award-winning poet Sina Queyras tells the story of childhood by illustrating six adult minds grappling with it: noticing, reaching, loving and flailing.

About the author

Sina Queyras is an accomplished poet and essayist. She edited the first anthology of Canadian poetry published by an American press (Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets). Between 2005 and 2007 she co-curated the path-breaking feminist Belladonna* reading series in New York and was instrumental in bringing Canadian and American poets into conversation. She has published six books of poetry and a novel, Autobiography of Childhood (2011). She received the Pat Lowther Award and a Lambda Literary Award for Lemon Hound (2006). Her most recent book of poetry is MxT (2014).

Sina Queyras' profile page


  • Short-listed, First Novel Award

Editorial Reviews

‘Fans of Queyras’s poetry will not be disappointed by her trademark whimsical rhythms and imagery; newcomers will be drawn into a fascinating story about a family dealing with its own particular brand of crazy.’ – Zoe Whittall, Fashion Magazine

'Queyras's novel scores the jagged incisions of childhood. How her characters escape or embrace or succumb to the damage, she manages through an exquisite prose that cannot comfort them, nor ease us. Yet we cannot help but be held by the language.' – Dionne Brand

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