Sister Language is a collaboration, composed mainly of letters and other writings, between two sisters, one of whom, Christina, is schizophrenic. In the careful building of a bridge between sisters, a prose nonpareil is achieved, and a linguistic "bridge" created between readers and the authors, one of whom's deep isolation is in this way diminished.
"A playful duet, a radiant howl, a swirling portrait of schizophrenia and sisterhood--this beautiful, wildly-groomed book magnifies two brilliant minds in motion. It is a story of what happens when 'everyday' language mutinies and shatters, leaving a fragile chimera of coherence. But mostly it's a tale of unshakable, vulnerable, writerly love that brought me to tears." - Kyo Maclear, author of Birds Art Life
Christina Baillie is a schizophrenic writer and artist, living in Toronto.
Martha Baillie's most recent novel, The Search for Heinrich SchlÃ¶gel (Tin House), received wide acclaim and was an O Magazine editors' pick. She lives in Toronto.
Stan Dragland is originally from Alberta and now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. He is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Western University. He has taught creative writing at the Banff Centre and at Los Parronales, Chile. He was founder of Brick magazine and Brick Books, a poetry publishing house. Between 1994 and 1997, he was poetry editor for McClelland & Stewart. Peckertracks (1979) was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award; Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9 (1994) won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian literary criticism: 12 Bars (2002) was co-winner of the bp Nichol Chapbook Award; Apocrypha: Further Journeys (2003) won the Newfoundland and Labrador Rogers Cable Award for nonfiction; Stormy Weather: Foursomes (2005) was shortlisted for the E.J. Pratt Poetry Award. Strangers & Others: Newfoundland Essays (2015) was shortlisted for the BMO Winterset Award). SD has also published Journeys Through Bookland and other Passages (1984) and The Bees of the Invisible: Essays in Contemporary English Canadian Writing (1991). 2008 saw the publication of The Drowned Lands, a novel. Deep Too, a prose oddity, appeared in 2013. The Bricoleur and His Sentences was published in 2014, Strangers & Others 2: The Great Eastern in 2016, and Gerald Squires in 2017.
I turn the key and push. The door begins to swing but bangs against its chain -- a barrier she's fashioned from a leash. This means she's home. Mouth to slit: "Sister, hello, sister." From some room she comes. The chain unfastened, I step inside -- admitted. Begin by admitting. A good beginning, but how much either party will admit (or admit to) is never a known factor. I've brought a desire. We begin, she and I; we've begun before, and often. It so happens, this day, our desires agree: to discuss language -- the many ways it rescues and fails her.
Praise for The Search For Heinrich Schlögel:The Literary Review of Canada: Revealing, puzzling, dazzling, The Search For Heinrich Schlögel resists reduction, rewards rereading.
Martha Baillie listed as one of nine great Canadian contemporary writers, for The Search For Heinrich Schlögel.
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