The Lord Nelson Tavern: a Halifax watering hole in the early 1960s. The group of young university students who hang out there—a ramshackle coterie of aspiring artists, economists, poets, and philosophers—come together to gossip and ponder the big questions of art and life, all the while pining after the vain and untouchable Francesca.
Though these friends soon drift apart, their early rivalries, jealousies and conquests will continue to reverberate. In the novel’s seven interlocking sequences, Ray Smith explores the often decisive and even fatal impact of seemingly innocuous choices upon the course of our lives. With unforgettable scenes that marry the sacred and the profane, and with structural innovations that recall the works of Barthelme and Nabokov, Lord Nelson Tavern is a must-read cult-classic of Canadian fiction.
“The long, singular career of Ray Smith is testament to the virtues and perils of literary wanderlust … An irreverent voice in the earnest early days of CanLit nationalism, Lord Nelson Tavern struck [an] original note, offering bite and insight, charm and sentimentality, in stylish, often wildly funny prose.”—Charles Foran
“The prose equivalent of a symphony.”—Steven Beattie
“The most accomplished fantasist writing in Canada today.”—Montreal Gazette
“Ray Smith … has a flair for languages. His ability to phonetically capture the nuances of English as spoken by those who were not born and raised in English Canada merits the occasional chuckle.”—Airforce Magazine