Quill and Quire Reviews Sina Queyras's Autobiography of Childhood

By Devon Code
Quill and Quire
October 15 2011

In his review of Sina Queyras's debut novel, Autobiography of Childhood, Quill and Quire's Devon Code comments on the author's evocative prose, and her ability to delve into the consciousness of different, but equally troubled, characters:

Autobiography of Childhood

Autobiography of Childhood is the first novel by acclaimed Montreal poet and critic Sina Queyras. Unfolding over the course of a single day, the novel follows the five surviving siblings of the Combal family as they confront the tragedies that overshadow their lives. Most pressingly, Therese is losing a long battle with cancer, something each of her brothers and sisters must come to terms with.


The siblings’ disadvantaged childhoods, and most particularly the death of their brother, Joe, form the background for the present turmoil. Other focal points of their childhood memories involve their violent father, their emotionally erratic mother, and the family’s journeys across the Canadian West in search of employment and stability.

Queyras convincingly renders the individual consciousness of each character in evocative, lyrical prose. Each sibling has taken a different path, none of which seems to have lead to contentment. The result is a novel that is decidedly bleak. Though there are moments of tenderness, compassion, and humour. [...]

The final section, which belongs to Therese, is the most moving. Therese's reckoning with her own mortality is affecting {...]

-Devon Code, a writer and reviewer in Toronto

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