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The Republic of Nothing (eBOOK)
DIGITAL EDITION

The Republic of Nothing (eBOOK)

Winner, Best Atlantic Published Book Award

Shortlisted, Canadian Regional Design Award

met-a-mor-pho-sis: a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.

In May of 1896, a young magician from New York City joined the cast of the Marco Magic Company and embarked on a summer-long tour of eastern Canada, including New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was during this excursion that Handcuff Harry AKA Harry Houdini first showcased the talent that transformed him from a small-time conjurer, who performed for pennies in dime museums, into the world's most celebrated escape artist. When he wasn't performing on stage, Houdini was barnstorming through the streets of every town and city he visited, astounding onlookers in police stations, hardware stores and hospitals by freeing himself from the clutches of every restraining device strapped or wrapped around him.

In this absorbing book, enriched by rare, period photographs, Bruce MacNab recounts a fascinating but shockingly untold chapter in the career of the man whose name is still synonymous with the word magic.


No one has a clearer view of Atlantic Canada's literary endeavours over the past twenty years than Lesley Choyce. He is the founder of the literary journal Pottersfield Portfolio, and the publisher of Pottersfield Press. He has edited several fiction anthologies and has been the in-house editor of many books from Pottersfield Press including Making Waves, a collection of stories by emerging authors from Atlantic Canada. He is the author of more than fifty books in genres ranging from poetry and essays to autobiography, history and fiction for adults, young adults, and children. Among his recent books are the novels The Republic of Nothing, World Enough, and Cold Clear Morning, and the story collection Dance the Rocks Ashore. Choyce is the writer, host, and co-producer of the popular literary show television program, Off the Page with Lesley Choyce, which is broadcast across the country on Vision TV. He also teaches in the English department of Dalhousie University in Halifax and is leader of the rock band The Surf Poets.

Neil Peart is the drummer for the Canadian band Rush.

Winner: Dartmouth Book Award
Shortlisted: Atlantic Booksellers' Choice Award
"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." — Globe and Mail

"The writing is reminiscent, both in wit and sensibility, of Stephen Leacock and Garrison Keillor." — Quill & Quire

"An unpredictable universe ... It's this unpredictability that makes the novel a success." — Calgary Herald

"A little gem of a story that should be granted its appropriate label as a Canadian version of [Salman Rushdie's] Midnight's Children." — Montreal Gazette

"Radiant with energy." — Winnipeg Free Press

"The Republic of Nothing is an unpredictable universe ... It's this unpredictability that makes the novel a success." — Calgary Herald

"Choyce has mastered the skill of an old-fashioned story-teller." — Cormorant

"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." — Canadian Book Review Annual

"The Republic of Nothing definitely has something to it." — FFWD

"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." — Pottersfield Portfolio

"This is Choyce's best book yet ... a reminder that we all need to keep a little creative anarchy in our lives." — Mail-Star

"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." — Brunswickan

"Don't miss The Republic of Nothing." — Guardian

"The Republic of Nothing weaves an intricate, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic narrative." — Daily Gleaner

"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." — Chronicle Herald

"A contemporary classic in Canadian literature." — Telegraph Journal

"Quirky yet compelling drama." — Midwest Book Review

"A national treasure." — Ottawa Citizen

"The written word is a powerful tool in Lesley Choyce's hands." — Vancouver Sun

382 pages
Pub date: November 8, 2010