Nellcott Is My Darling
Nominated for a 2005 Governor General's Award
Alice Charles has just moved to Montreal to go to McGill University. She’s never had a boyfriend and doesn’t know how to do laundry. She joins the Film Society and hangs out in the library. She drifts away from boring Bethany, her best friend from high school, and starts to trail after Allegra, the caffeine-addicted, dish-throwing artist in the dorm room next to hers. And, most of all, she thinks about how she’s still a virgin and how she’ll never figure it all out.
And then she meets Nellcott Ragland, a 23-year-old who works at Basement Records and wears black eyeliner, and he asks her on a date.
Alice tries to hide out in the Film Society office. She spies on Nellcott at the record store. She gets advice from Walker, her filmmaking, womanizing friend from Toronto. But sooner or later her parents are going to visit and watch her cry. She won’t admit it to them, but Nellcott has become her darling.
Praise for Nellcott Is My Darling:
‘… a sensitive, sensual, funny and accurate map of the rocky and mystifying territory between childhood and maturity. ’
– The Globe and Mail
‘[Nellcott Is My Darling] is one of the few genuinely good small-press books that will be published this year. Read it to restore your faith in writers you’ve never heard of’
– Georgia Straight
‘Reading Fried’s novel is as close as one gets to re-experiencing those first fearful days of university, when the anxious gulf between looking like an adult and feeling like an adult will probably never be wider … Fried captures a slice of university life that feels far more complex and resonant than this kind of novel usually does. It’s one of those rare novels that captures innocence without resorting to nostalgia. ’
– Montreal Mirror
‘There’s something captivating about Fried’s prose that makes Alice and Nellcott’s relationship feel like a slow-motion whirlpool. Writing in such short sentences and with such a fine eye for the minutiae of relationships, she circles around emotional pivot points until the reader feels dragged into the depths of her characters, unaware of how he got there. ’
– Time Out Chicago