How do our ancestors’ homes and histories haunt us? Author Jennifer Bowering Delisle investigates this theme in her moving and fragmented approach to her family history. The Bosun Chair is a lyrical exploration of Bowering Delisle’s ancestors that draws together memoir, poetry, photographs, interviews, and historical documents to create a love letter to Newfoundland and its people. From shipwrecks and wars to resettlement and labour movements, this diverse book collects the lore of the author’s family and their home province.
Born and currently residing in Edmonton, Bowering Delisle has a doctorate in English from the University of British Columbia and previously wrote another book on her ancestral homeland called The Newfoundland Diaspora: Mapping the Literature of Out-Migration. Both books deal with the economic motivations behind the migration of many Newfoundlanders and how it continues to affect those displaced people and their children.
Anyone who’s missing this eastern province or their own home may feel a deep connection to this memoir and the themes at the heart of its story. And like the titular object—a bosun chair is a short plank attached to a rope that would raise a worker high up on a ship—readers will feel suspended above Bowering Delisle’s narrative, the perfect vantage point to the stirring pieces contained within. And do not fear: the author’s delicate language will have you feeling comfortable as you swing from moment to moment and piece together her myriad stories.