Autobiography of Childhood

By (author): Sina Queyras

A finalist for the 36th annual First Novel Award!

The Combals are not unacquainted with death: they have never quite recovered from the loss of one of them in childhood. And now, on Valentine’s Day, they are losing another.

Guddy races to see her sister, Jerry and Bjarne avoid the phone and its news, Jean finds himself on a beach, and Annie fends off her mother’s persistent questions about what’s happening. And Therese tries to forgive them all before it’s too late.

As each is forced to face the news of Therese’s impending death, their actions weave a nuanced portrait of a family, of the devastating reach of childhood grief.

What if thinking is all we have at the end of the day? What if how we react really is all we can control? This transcendent first novel from award-winning poet Sina Queyras tells the story of childhood by illustrating six adult minds grappling with it: noticing, reaching, loving and flailing.


Sina Queyras

Sina Queyras is the author most recently of the poetry collections Lemon Hound and Expressway both from Coach House Books. She is also working on a novel titled, Autobiography of Childhood, which an excerpt from appeared in translation in Siecle 21 out of Paris. She has lived across Canada, in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Currently she lives in Montreal where she teaches and keeps a blog, Lemon Hound.


‘Fans of Queyras’s poetry will not be disappointed by her trademark whimsical rhythms and imagery; newcomers will be drawn into a fascinating story about a family dealing with its own particular brand of crazy.’ – Zoe Whittall, Fashion Magazine

‘Queyras’s novel scores the jagged incisions of childhood. How her characters escape or embrace or succumb to the damage, she manages through an exquisite prose that cannot comfort them, nor ease us. Yet we cannot help but be held by the language.’ – Dionne Brand


  • First Novel Award 2012, Short-listed
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    200 Pages
    8.0in * 5.0in * 0.8in


    October 15, 2011


    Coach House Books



    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Family Life / General

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