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If Sylvie Had Nine Lives Discussion Board
The digital book club, Together We Read, is featuring If Sylvie Had Nine Lives with no waitlists or holds through January 24. Share your thoughts about the title with readers across Canada. Discussion begins January 10 and ends January 24.
If Sylvie Had Nine Lives chronicles a woman’s nine possible lives across several decades. She has her struggles and her flaws. Some of her personality traits come forward or recede from one life to the next. Do you think a person has an immutable self, or do we change depending on circumstance?
The turning points that slip Sylvie from one life to the next are sometimes accidents of timing and circumstance, sometimes intentional, and sometimes a blend of both. A sneeze, a pinch on the but, a chance cup of coffee with a friend that sets her thinking. How much do you think life turns on accident and how much on conscious decisions?
Maps inside the book show Sylvie’s lifelines branching like a delta. Some people read the book straight through, not much concerned about where they are on the maps, while others flip back to search out the turning points that sent Sylvie this way or that. Some have read the book a second time in a different order, grouping the chapters according to whether Sylvie is single, with Jack, or with Erik. What was your approach?
In the final chapter, Blueberry Hill, Syl thinks about her own insatiability—and the insatiability of human beings in general—and links it to some of the problems that define the present moment, including the climate crisis. Do you think this particular version of Sylvie (in Blueberry Hill) will find successful ways to deal with this tendency in her own life?