Alice, the protagonist of Nelcott Is My Darling by Golda Fried (Coach House), has left a sheltered life in Toronto to attend McGill University, where she joins the film society and makes friends who are dangerous and cool—all while trying to hold on to her square best friend from high school. Then she falls into a relationship with Nelcott, a chic bohemian musician. The novel is written in a flat, uninflected style, and the events of Alice’s life are given without emotion or explanation. When a small detail of thought or feeling emerges, it comes as a revelation. Such narrative distance means that the reader can never really know Alice or understand why she does things, but because she’s a frightened teenager who doesn’t understand her life or her feelings, the approach makes her life intriguing and real.