Winner, Dartmouth Book Award
Shortlisted, Atlantic Booksellers Choice Award
A small Canadian island declares its independence to the world and benign anarchy reigns. A god-like ocean deposits many a thing, yet it also takes away. The 1960s blaze off shore and draw the island's inhabitants into politics, the Vietnam War, and the peace movement.
Sound impossible? Not on Whalebone Island, AKA the Republic of Nothing. Where else can a dead circus elephant, a long-dead Viking, the discovery of uranium, a raven-haired castaway who may be psychic, an anarchist turned politician, and refugees fleeing from the United States all be part of everyday life? Where else is eccentricity embraced with such open arms?
In this new readers' guide edition, complete with an afterword by Neil Peart, Lesley Choyce's novel about resilience, independence, and anarchy comes alive, leading readers to discover once again that everything is nothing and nothing is everything.
"This is Choyce's best book yet ... a reminder that we all need to keep a little creative anarchy in our lives."
"The Republic of Nothing weaves an intricate, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic narrative."
"Quirky yet compelling drama."
"The written word is a powerful tool in Lesley Choyce's hands."
"Radiant with energy."
"An unpredictable universe ... It's this unpredictability that makes the novel a success."
"Choyce takes this deceptively simple story and ... fills it with characters who are wry, warm, funny, and magical. This is by far the author's best novel."
"If you need a little Zen in your life, The Republic of Nothing is a good way to learn to extricate yourself from the beaten path and find the wonder of nothingness."
"The Republic of Nothing is the product of a sprawling and original literary imagination, bustling with colourful and sympathetic characters, bursting with fanciful incident, and propelled by a relentless narrative drive. It is, quite simply, a good read."
"The fact that the book has lasted for 10 years is a testimony to its popularity in these days when few books retain any life or fame after a year."
"A national treasure."
"A little gem of a story that should be granted its appropriate label as a Canadian version of [Salman Rushdie's] Midnight's Children."
"The writing is reminiscent, both in wit and sensibility, of Stephen Leacock and Garrison Keillor."
"A triple-decker of a yarn shot through with mythic possibilities, it's part fairy tale, part adventure story and part coming-of-age testimonial; it manages to be earnest and absurd, poetic and humorous all at once ... a pleasure to read."
"Don't miss The Republic of Nothing."
"The Republic of Nothing definitely has something to it."
"The Republic of Nothing is an unpredictable universe ... It's this unpredictability that makes the novel a success."
"Choyce has mastered the skill of an old-fashioned story-teller."
"A contemporary classic in Canadian literature."