This Magazine Falls for Autobiography of Childhood

A Day in the Life
By Jill Langlois
November 1 2011

This Magazine's Jill Langlois admires the graceful, relatable and ultimately heartbreaking vignettes that comprise Sina Queyras's debut novel, Autobiography of Childhood:

'Sina Queyras takes a step away from award-winning poetry with her newest novel, but in no way loses her poetic sensibility when she delves into this family saga.

'With only 24 hours left in the life of their sister Therese after a lifelong battle with cancer, four remaining siblings look back on the tumultuous childhood that has helped get them where they are today, with their father and even Therese herself taking turns at self-reflection as well. Each has his or her own very distinct view on what they lived through together—an impulsive and neglectful mother, a father who was never quite there—but one thing they are all equally haunted by is the sudden and unexpected death of their brother Joe.

'Queyras takes you through the lives of each family member with skill and ease. She uses the simplest of language to paint a picture of the different realities they live, from Bjarne, who lives in the north after six years on Vancouver’s skid row, to Annie, who tries to look after the mother who didn’t bother to look after them, to Therese, who tries to forgive them all for their individual idiosyncrasies before she joins the brother none of them could ever forget.

'With each reaction (or non-reaction) to the news of Therese’s impending death, Queyras shows the individual struggles of her characters and the specific issues of their entire family. She also manages to make you feel as if you’re a part of it all, like all families can relate, like all childhoods somehow have an unbreakable link.'

--Jill Langlois

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