Donna Morrissey




Sylvanus Now

“Morrissey summons energy and passion to invest this clash of the old versus the new with an epic quality  -- and succeeds ... the writing is poised, charged and tactile, almost biblical in places.”
The Sunday Times (London)

“...Breathtakingly beautiful...A splendidly unique novel.”
Alistair MacLeod

“ arresting tale, recounted in powerful, lyrical prose.”
Montreal Gazette

“Absorbing human drama, in Morrissey’s best yet.”
Kirkus Review

Penguin Canada 2005
Hodder&Stoughton UK 2005
W.W. Norton US. 2006
Premium/DTV/ Germany2007

Sylvanus Now

A masterpiece ...a powerful tale of two people caught in the upheaval of personal, social, and global change of unimagined proportions.

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 who hauls in his catch by standing on the gunnels of his boat in a rolling sea, line-jigging for cod. He sun-cures and salts them in time-honored fashion.

His desires are simple; he wants a suit and he knows how much fish he has to catch to pay for it. That suit helps him lure the girl he wants—the fine-boned beauty, Adelaide. But looming on his horizon are menacing fishing trawlers that suck the fish from sea.

This is the love story of Sylvanus Nowand the fiery Adelaide. Despite her hatred of the sea, the fish, and the stultifying community, she seeks refuge from her troubled family with Sylvanus and with the kind, stalwart Edith Now, Sylvanus’s mother.

As we become engrossed in the love story of Addie and Sylvanus with its heartbreaking loss of their babies in childbirth, and the tender renewal of their passion, we are aware that Sylvanus Now’s eternal, beloved sea is on the cusp of cataclysmic change. What choices face them now?

Donna Morrissey, an award-winning author of Kit’s Law and Downhill Chance, grew up in The Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland. She worked in a fish plant and is an eloquent witness to the stunning collapse of the cod fishery. Critics have compared her rich stories to the works of such writers as Thomas Hardy, Dickens, and Shakespeare. She lives in Halifax.