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Book cover for La Voie romaine, by Sylveline Bourion

La Voie romaine

By Sylveline Bourion

Les Éditions du Boréal

“Through its remarkable writing and exceptional evocative power, this work of non-fiction harks back to the timelessness of childhood, that of awareness of the world before the advent of language. It paves the way to a meditation on what literature has to offer in the face of the difficulties of life without denying any of the contradictions or limits of literary creation.”

—Peer assessment committee: Gabrielle Giasson-Dulude, Daniel Jacques and Eftihia Mihelakis


Raised by a governess and authoritarian yet distant parents, the narrator recounts a 19th-century childhood that blossomed in rural 1980s France. Lost inside herself, condemned to silence before writing eventually opens up the way to speech, she evokes a very singular form of thought—that which precedes language. In paintings that echo the country and the time she comes from, she summons fragments of life and describes the shift from primitive sensory magma to the eruption of intelligence. Along with the narrator, the reader will experience the genesis of an awakening of the senses through phrasing where echoes of poems, songs and dialogues arise, through to a calm, clear and serious outcome.

Sylveline Bourion smiling into the camera


Sylveline Bourion is a musician and writer. She was born in France and grew up there between rural life and the past, and between her parents and her governess, with language as a founding encounter, before moving to Quebec. She currently teaches structural music analysis at the Université de Montréal. Her first literary writings were published in the pages of literary journal Contre-jour. Sylveline Bourion lives in Montréal, Quebec.

Photo: François Couture

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