After fictional excursions abroad to Germany, France, Scotland, Italy, Africa, and Australia, and back to the 1920s, the nineteenth century, and the Middle Ages, Ray Smith has come home to English Montreal in the 1990s. The Man Who Loved Jane Austen is a penetrating story of a Montreal with only the lingering effervescence of its past, a Montreal of loss, or regret, of sadness. A Montreal where nationalism corrodes every event, every relationship, every soul. A Montreal of lies and betrayal. Smith's work combines astonishing inventiveness with a warm and gregarious humanity. His first book, Cape Breton is the Thought Control Centre of Canada (1969, reissued by The Porcupine's Quill in 1989), burst upon a largely uncomprehending world in an explosion of post-modernist experimentation and whimsy. The novel, Lord Nelson Tavern (1974) is an odyssey of love and friendship; it conceals its equally innovative structures behind a surface reality of poignant characters and memorable incidents. Smith again extended his range with Century (1986), a novel which explores the horrors and beauties of the modern world. His most recent book, A Night at the Opera (The Porcupine's Quill, 1992), is an exploration of the preposterous German city of Waltherrott, a delightful cavalcade of fools and knaves, grouches and maniacs, frumps and tarts, heroes and clowns.