A review of Century by Ray Smith

Published on April 30, 2009

Ray Smith


Century is a re-issue of Smith’s collection of six linked fictions, first published a quarter of a century ago. It is as fresh and modern as today. Although billed as a “novel,” Biblioasis considers this work “unclassifiable” and the stories certainly move to and fro in time. Characters in one story appear in another, although these are not the classic Canadian linked short stories. There is a sensation of looking through a kaleidoscope, as one story meets another then shifts slightly, showing a different aspect of an earlier one.

Charles Foran, in his foreword, refers to Century’s “tonal labyrinth” and prepares the reader in some measure for the extraordinary language and storytelling to follow.

Smith, a Montrealer for decades, has now retired to the Maritimes. One can only hope that he will keep on writing, and that the reissue of Century will create a new generation of readers for his works. mRb

Margaret Goldik is a former editor of the Montreal Review of Books.



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