“As she danced, the image of a river came to her. A river branching into multiples of itself, no longer a single stream but a delta. And if her life were such a delta she might let the flow take her in a direction far from the current she was in now.”
So begins our adventures with Sylvie, the wildly engaging, funny and flawed protagonist of the award- winning If Sylive Had Nine Lives, a novel by Saskatoon’s Leona Theis, published by Freehand Books.
Playing with structure, plot and voice, Theis takes us on a raft ride down the what-if streams of a life. At times hilarious, in others poignant, each chapter of this novel is a reflection on the choices a person could have made, should have made, forgot to make or fell into. From an almost-cancelled marriage to falling for an old flame; a sister she mocks to an aunt who picks her up at each failed turn, these stories haunt with the notion that one moment, one decision can affect a lifetime.
Sylvie is fervently human as are the characters surrounding her and the world they act upon and which impacts upon them. A master of language, Theis renders these stories in prose that makes you catch your breath, makes you want to read that sentence or paragraph one more time, the beauty of word choice and image filling the reader with longing, joy or laughter.
I should have written this review long ago, but better late than never. Read Sylvie!