A Novel

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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.



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Donna Morrissey was born in The Beaches, a small village on the northwest coast of Newfoundland that had neither roads nor electricity until the 1960s - a place not unlike Haire's Hollow, which she depicts in "Kit's Law". When she was sixteen, Morrissey left The Beaches & struck out across Canada, working odd jobs from bartending to cooking in oil rig camps to processing fish in fish plants. She went on to earn a degree in social work at Memorial University in St. Johns. It was not until she was in her late thirties that Morrissey began writing short stories, at the urging of a friend, a Jungian analyst, who insisted she was a writer. Eventually she adapted her first two stories into screenplays, which both went on to win the Atlantic Film Festival Award; one aired recently on CBC. "Kit's Law" is Morrissey's first novel, the winner of the Canadian Booksellers Association First-Time Author of the Year Award & shortlisted for many prizes, including the Atlantic Fiction Award & the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Morrissey lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Published January 1, 2005 by SCEPTRE. 416 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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A way of life is compromised and threatened, and life goes stubbornly on, in the Canadian author's third novel, following Downhill Chance (2003).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Sylvanus Now: A Novel

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