Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce


The Republic of Nothing
Lesley Choyce
Reader’s Guide Edition, with an afterword by Rush’s Neil Peart

“ A triple-decker of a yarn . . . “
— The Globe and Mail

In The Republic of Nothing, prolific Canadian writer Lesley Choyce mines the deep vein of 1960s political and philosophical turmoil to create his best-loved work. A novel about rebellion, resilience, and independence, this Reader’s Guide edition, perfect for book clubs, also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the book’s original publication.

“My father declared the independence of Whalebone Island on March 21, 1951, the day I was born. It was a heady political time even on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. New, pint-size nations were emerging all over forgotten corners of the globe and my old man decided that the flowering of independence should not pass us by.”

And so begins a quirky, quintessentially Choycian, work. In this idiosyncratic world 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 live in peace. At its heart, it is the story of one young man’s journey into adulthood while the anarchy of the adult world rages on around him.

This particular novel was a watershed in the author’s career. Choyce says it engendered a somewhat cult following. He even received letters from strangers who wanted to move to the island he had created.

“Kids in alternative rock bands wrote songs about it. Favourable reviewers wondered who I was and why I was ‘in hiding’. I knew I had tapped into something very important. Ultimately, it made me happy to be a writer who was so blessed to live at least part of my daily life IN the Republic of Nothing in all its shining exuberence.”

Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush, is one of many people deeply affected by this book. In his afterword, Peart reveals how he struck up a friendship with Choyce after reading the novel in the mid 1990s. He articulates why The Republic of Nothing remains one of his favourites to this day.

“Like all great fiction, it speaks for all time. And like all great dramatists, Lesley Choyce can build a stage on Whalebone Island, Nova Scotia, and bring the whole world to it.”

Discover why everyone from teenagers to rock stars adores this Canadian classic. Sail away to The Republic of Nothing, where ‘everything is nothing and nothing is everything.’

About The Author

Renaissance man Lesley Choyce has taught at Dalhousie University for the past 25 years. He runs Pottersfield Press and has published over sixty books for adults and kids. Lesley surfs year round in the North Atlantic and is considered the father of transcendental wood-splitting. He’s worked as a rehab counsellor, a freight hauler, a corn farmer, a janitor, a journalist, a lead guitarist, a newspaper boy, and a well-digger. He lives in a 200-year-old farmhouse at Lawrencetown Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. He also hosts a nationally syndicated TV talk show on Vision TV called Off the Page with Lesley Choyce. His recent novel Cold Clear Morning is being developed as a feature-length movie. In 2002, Goose Lane Editions published Choyce’s best-selling circumferential history book, The Coasts of Canada. That same year, his animal epic film, The Skunk Whisperer, was broadcast across Canada and heralded at the Maine International Film Festival. Along with the Surf Poets, he has released two poetry/music albums, Long Lost Planet and Sea Level.

Accolades for Lesley Choyce and The Republic of Nothing

“ A national treasure.” — The Ottawa Citizen

“Reminiscent, both in wit and sensibility, of Stephen Leacock.” — Quill and Quire

“This book has to be the most unlikely success story!! If you go to school, you know that the books the teachers give you to read are generally either really old or really boring. I am surprised to say that this book is neither.

”The book is a very vivid depiction of what it is like to seek independence from your family, and even your country. This books about a family that live on a secluded island off Nova Scotia, they call this island "The Republic of Nothing." They don't want to be a nation of anyone elses, they want to be on their own with no government. This book starts off as a book about an Utopian island, and that it becomes about one family, mainly the main character, trying to find their way. It has family struggles, committment, romance, comedy, politics, etc etc. This is definitely a book for everyone from a dreamer to a succeeder.” — Kelly, on Amazon.com



R.A. MacNeil said...

I LOVE this book. Thanks for writting it.


Lesley Choyce said...

Thanks Ryan.