Lucien and Olivia by André Narbonne, author of Twelve Miles to Midnight, is a comic statement on the beautiful waywardness of life. Built on scenes of discovery and error, the novel satirizes the transactional view of human relations that has elbowed its way into our lives by way of contemporary political discourse. The novel is set in the 1980s before cell phones, personal computers, and Facebook “likes.” Lucien is a marine engineer on a Canadian tanker. While on one-month leave in Halifax, he meets Olivia, a brilliant philosophy student at Dalhousie University, who takes an immediate dislike to him. What begins as mutual antipathy changes when they discover how compatible their oddities are. Charged by Olivia not to say he loves her, Lucien returns to sea and to a job characterized by its plodding predictability. Here he discovers that not everything in his life is foreseeable, including his feelings for Olivia. This is a fascinating and different work of fiction.
A marine engineer by first trade, André Narbonne was living out of his duffel bag when he arrived in Halifax on a damaged tanker in the mid-eighties. He completed two degrees in English at Dalhousie University and a PhD at the University of Western Ontario. He teaches English & Creative Writing at the University of Windsor.
Published: May 2023
"André Narbonne has created a true emotional roller-coaster of a story. It’s like Jack Kerouac, Russell Banks and Raymond Carver came together to write a quintessentially Canadian love story —dark, angst-ridden and haunting, but so eloquent that Lucien and Olivia stay with me as my troubled but hopeful friends long after I finished the novel.” — Lesley Choyce, author of Saltwater Chronicles
Longlisted for The Giller Prize