The time is the 1950s, and the place is Canada’s Atlantic coast at the edge of the great Newfoundland fishing banks. Sylvanus Now is a young fisherman of great charm and strength. His youthful desires are simple: he wants a suit to lure a girl—the fine-boned beauty Adelaide—and he knows exactly how much fish he has to catch to pay for it. Adelaide, however, has other dreams. She longs to escape the sea, the fish, and the stultifying community, but her need of refuge from her own troubled family leads her to Sylvanus and life in the neighbouring outport.
Set against the love story of Addie and Sylvanus is the sea, the Great Mother that is on the cusp of cataclysmic change. Caught between his desire to please his wife and his strongly independent nature, Sylvanus must decide what path his future will take.
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.
“Breathtakingly beautiful… A splendidly unique novel.” –Alastair MacLeod
“Morrissey summons energy and passion to invest this clash of the old versus the new with an epic quality—and succeeds… the writing is poised, charged and tactile, almost biblical in places.” –The London Sunday Times
“...an arresting tale, recounted in powerful, lyrical prose.” –Montreal Gazette
“Absorbing human drama, in Morrissey’s best yet.” –Kirkus Review
“Donna Morrissey is an absolute terrific original.” –David Adams Richards
“Irresistible… Masterful… The rich, rocky terrain of Newfoundland has borne a native storyteller with talent to burn in Donna Morrissey.” –Dublin Sunday Tribune
“Donna Morrissey is a wonderfully gifted writer. The setting of her books is Newfoundland, but their appeal is universal. She unashamedly cares for her characters and sees them as real people with real lives worth caring and reading about. To read one of her books is to wind up laughing or crying or somehow doing both at once.” –Wayne Johnston
“Everything is hyper-vivid in Morrissey’s world, not excluding emotions, dreams and unresolved conflicts… Morrissey reveals the beauty and the terror of two economic realities, worlds apart from us and from each other.” –Toronto Star