The Matter of Sylvie

By (author): Lee Kvern
ISBN 9781897142486
Softcover | Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 7.5 in
216 Pages

About the Book

On a Wednesday in July 1961, Jacqueline Burrows begins her day perched on the cool concrete of her front steps, smoking. Jacqueline is the mother of three children, including her sweet, difficult daughter, Sylvie. It’s only 7:00 AM, but Jacqueline’s children are awake and tearing through the neighborhood.

In a story that deals with the extraordinary challenges of raising a child with severe special needs, The Matter of Sylvie traces the course of Jacqueline’s Wednesday, a life-shifting day. The mother’s impulses, combined with the stress of her other young children and the absence of her police officer husband, culminate in an event that echoes into the next two decades. A familial triptych: as the fate of one child resounds in the individual, pivotal Wednesdays of both Jacqueline’s husband, Lloyd, in February of 1973, and her adult daughter, Lesa, in October of 1987.

Three Wednesdays, three decades, three narrators whose lives are intricately woven in this novel of dark and light. The Matter of Sylvie explores the depths of mother, father and daughter-and ultimately, the matter of Sylvie herself.

About the Author(s)

Lee Kvern is the award-winning author of short stories and novels. Novels: Afterall and The Matter of Sylvie were nominated for the Alberta Book Awards, Sylvie was long-listed for the Relit Award. Her short stories are also well celebrated: "White" was the national winner of the CBC Literary Awards, "I May Have Known You" was nominated for the Howard 'O'Hagan Award, and "Detachment" was a finalist in the Malahat Open Season. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, and published in Event, Descant, and enRoute, and on Joyland.ca (New York) and Foundpress.com.

Reviews

“In short, enigmatic, alternating chapters, over three decisive Wednesdays in three successive decades, the story of the Burrows family is teased out with measured restraint from its blistering beginnings to its nuanced conclusion.” MostlyFiction.com

The Matter of Sylvie is an artfully crafted novel, written with almost lyrical prose, examining the effects on a family from an illness few understand.” —Robin van Eck

“Though disturbing and sometimes heart-wrenching, I was moved by the Burrows family and the intensity of their lives.” —Cheryl Schenk, Bittleberry and Beyond blog

“Award winning Okotoks writer Lee Kvern is taking a dark look at family dynamics.” —Okotoks Western Wheel