The Republic of Nothing opens in the 1950s on Whalebone Island at the moment Everett McQuade decides to commemorate the birth of his son by declaring the island's independence. In this world of deliberate eccentricity, almost anything can happen. A treasure-trove of objects wash up on shore — including a circus elephant, a ship's cargo of exotic furniture and a mysterious raven-haired woman adrift in a lifeboat — and refugees from the outside world find a place where they can cultivate their eccentricities in peace. By the mid-1960s, Whalebone Island begins to succumb to the influences of the outside world. Children attend school on the mainland. Everett McQuade is drawn into provincial politics. Electricity arrives. But even the Vietnam War, the peace movement, and the discovery of uranium mining on the island, cannot destroy the anarchic spirit of Everett McQuade and the citizens of the Republic of Nothing. Drawing upon historical incident and the major political and philosophical currents of the 1960s, Lesley Choyce has created a novel about resilience, independence, and cultivated anarchy in which everything is nothing and nothing is everything.
"The written word is a powerful tool in Lesley Choyce's hands." — The Vancouver Sun
"A national treasure." — The Ottawa Citizen