Nikolski – Nicholas Dickner Translated By Lazar Lederhendler

What a neat book!

Nikolski is the story of three people from three different places in Canada who all move to Montreal.

The unknown narrator works in a used book shop.  His mother has just died and is clearing out her house to be sold.  He comes across many old mementos – old journals, but his favorite was an old compass that his father gave him as a child.  Funnily enough, the compass points to 34 degrees – a place called Nikolski.

Noah and his mother drive across Canada, sleep in a trailer hitched behind the car.  When Noah turns 18, accepted to university in Montreal, heads there to study archeology.

Joyce is from the east coast.  Her mother died shortly after she was born, since then her father has raised her in a predominately fishing community.  Her grandfather before he died used to tell her stories of their ancestors being pirates sailing the seas, stealing treasure from their efforts.  They settled in the area after pirating had slowed to a crawl.  She has dreams of becoming a female pirate.

There is the fact that the books is  cover less, tattered book.  Quite unique, it is known as the three-headed book.

With all the stories being intertwined as one, the lush descriptions of the past experiences of the three are like you are there yourself, feeling the wind on your face coming across the prairie fields in Saskatchewan.

Humerous incidents, how their live move with the times, as time passes in Montreal.  They all seemingly live in the same neighbourhood, living their lives separately, one not knowing without the other.  But then again, there is this hint that they are all connected in life.  They just aren’t aware of it.

Well written and translated, it flows effortlessly as the stories tales are told.

They left where they lived to find themselves, as well as answers to their past.  It was quirky, but funny and engaging.

This is the THIRD book I have read on the Canada Reads 2010 list.

Read an Excerpt

Random House / A A Knopf

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