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Fiction Small Town & Rural

The Chrome Suite

by (author) Sandra Birdsell

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Apr 2002
Small Town & Rural, Black Humor, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2002
    List Price

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Set in Manitoba, Sandra Birdsell’s spellbinding novel reaches back nearly four decades into the life of scriptwriter Amy Barber. In a journey shadowed by the future and the past, Amy travels by car from Toronto to Winnipeg with her younger lover, and reconstructs the events that brought her to where she is today. As the narrative moves from a small town during one extraordinarily hot summer at the close of the fifties when a death changes everything, to the sixties and seventies when Amy marries, goes to live in the city, and begins to have reason to fear for her young son’s well-being, Sandra Birdsell uncovers the inadvertent damage that can be done within the most well-meaning of families. Vivid, darkly humorous, erotic, The Chrome Suite is an emotionally charged story of darkness and light that evokes the sometimes dangerous territory of the past.

About the author

Sandra Birdsell is an award-winning writer, the author of The Two-Headed Calf (shortlisted for the 1997 Governor General's Award), Night Travellers, Ladies of the House, The Missing Child and The Chrome Suite.Among other awards, she has won the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Gerald Lampert Award for New Fiction. The Town That Floated Away is her first children's book.She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, but grew up in Morris, Manitoba -- a town that truly did, one day, float away.

Sandra Birdsell's profile page


  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction

Editorial Reviews

"A miraculous novel.…Birdsell tightly controls the rich detail, the intense emotions of her story. . . ."
Globe and Mail
“Part testimony, part remembrance, part discovery, The Chrome Suite goes inside out to tell a story of loss and remembrance.”
Quill & Quire
“This novel has the power of all uncompromising fiction; Sandra Birdsell’s hard-edged, accurate prose and her unfailingly intelligent observations of the way people live are deeply satisfying to read.…”
Winnipeg Free Press
“A masterful novel, which places her among the best of Canadian writers today.”
Montreal Gazette

“The human landscape and the complexities of relationships ring true. Birdsell’s ability to enter the hearts of her characters keeps us hooked.”
Calgary Herald
“A fluid quality to Birdsell’s prose bids you move ever onward, even into dark and menacing corners where unseen forces bind families, make them crackle with tension, make them unravel. She is that rarity, a consistently interesting writer with an original voice.…As Margaret Atwood captured the tensions that divide young girls in Cat’s Eye, so Birdsell explores the tensions – sexual, emotional, territorial – that fill Amy Barber’s house.…The Chrome Suite seems to have been written from some deep, dark well of inspiration.”
Books in Canada
“The writing is always a joy, the kind that slows the reader down to savour every vivid moment.”
Quill & Quire
“A passionate exploration of loss, betrayal, death, and the heartless whimsy of fate.…The writing is masterful. There is an uncompromising ferocity and harsh power to this author’s work.”
Canadian Book Review Annual

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