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Nikolski [Paperback]

Nicolas Dickner , Lazer Lederhendler
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 2009
Three young people, born thousands of miles apart, each cut themselves adrift from their birthplaces and set out to discover what - or who - might anchor them in their lives. Over the course of the next ten years, Noah, Joyce, and an unnamed narrator will each settle for a time in Montreal, their paths almost criss-crossing and their own stories weaving in and out of other wondrous tales, about such things as a pair of fearsome female pirates, a team of urban archaeologists, several enormous tuna fish, a mysterious book without a cover, and a broken compass whose needle obstinately points to the north Alaskan village of Nikolski. Intricately plotted and shimmering with originality, Nikolski charts the curious courses of migration that can eventually lead to home.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846271657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846271656
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,871,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Dickner excites the imagination of the reader to the point of ecstasy' - Le Monde
-- Review

'Stylish, offbeat, poignant, and perceptive' - David Mitchell -- Review

Review

'Dickner excites the imagination of the reader to the point of ecstasy' - Le Monde

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Whimsical" is the word I'm looking for 8 Jan 2009
By MisterKeith VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
OK, so I got this because it had a quote from David Mitchell on the cover. And, yes, you should never read a book because of a quote on the cover - context etc.

That said, I'm so glad that I did. Every so often, I watch one of those "arty" films where nothing ever happens - "Lantana" springs to mind - and I tend to come out wishing I'd gone to see Chuck Norris kicking the living daylights out of someone instead. This book is the literary equivalent of one of those films: there's no "action", there's not much in the way of plot, no-one dies. The major difference between, say, "Lantana" and "Nikolski" is that none of this matters. What this story is absolutely packed with is characters and character development, and it's a treat from start to finish. The writing is often beautiful, and the characters, whilst quirky, never cross the line into irritating.

The ending may annoy some readers, as it leaves several loose ends untied but I'm actually glad that it does, since you can apply your own interpretation.

In the last few months, I've read detective novels, autobiographies, murder mysteries and musical biographies (amongst others): no one book gripped me and made me want to carry on reading like "Nikolski" did.

A rare pleasure.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just short of engaging 27 Oct 2011
By Richard Hammond VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've tried hard to enjoy this book but found I'd had to re-read the opening chapter three times, such was the lag between read attempts. The story is clearly well written, the David Mitchell (writer not comic) endorsement got me interested but the characters never came alive. That's not to say they won't for you.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book only just falling short of 4 star 6 July 2011
By Mysay
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed the book. Read it.

There are lots of loose ends, lots of far fetched confluences, and lots of interesting characters left hanging.

It is a tribute that I loved all the characters (even the minor ones)and would have loved to know more about them. The author is cleary very talented.

In the end I took the book for what I guess it intended to do, saying something about the way people and events flow around each other and how we only ever get fragments of a big and complex picture. It had echoes of what I have found in researching family genealogy. Perhaps when we are all absorbed in Facebook, Twitter, and Friends and Genes reunited etc. the day will dawn when all is resolved - but perhaps not.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but ends badly 7 Oct 2010
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
An original and interesting novel, quite nicely written, with quirky characters. It does have several annoying aspects though, such as a certain reliance on improbability and coincidence, and ends disappointingly (though probably realistically) without the strands of the story ever tying up or any conclusion coming. I kept waiting throughout the final third for the big denouement, the exciting bit... but it never came. The reader at the end is left the characters, adrift. Nevertheless it is well written and I did enjoy reading it - it's just a shame that I was left feeling slightly cheated of a proper conclusion.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good novel set in North America 19 Aug 2010
By P. Sharpe VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found the book to be good, but not amazing. It kept me gripped but not enthralled.

In short, the nameless narrator has a compass given to him by his now deceased father. It is his only memory of him, the only thing is that this compass does not point absolutely North, but to a village called Nikolski, hence the name of the novel.

The story introduces two further characters Noah and Joyce. Through the different chapters you learn about the three separate lives and how they eventually cross. Sometimes you really need to be thinking hard to work out which character is being spoken about and which other person is related to who.

It is interesting trying to work out and seeing exactly where and how each characters paths cross.

Definitely worth reading, but not at the top of the list.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cross Canada Fishing Tale 28 May 2010
Format:Paperback
Every character in this light comedy-satire seems to be fishing for something, although not necessarily fish or even in water. Yet, most places where the action takes place are somehow located on islands: Montreal Island, Stevenson Island, and an island off the Venezuelan coast. Finally, and not to be overlooked the "magnetic north" and the title of the novel, Nikolski, a village one of the small Aleutian islands off Alaska. Sounds a bit like a mystery story? In a way, yes, as first time Quebec novelist Nicolas Dickner spins a delightful yarn around his three primary characters, either moving to or through and/or living in Montreal until...

Noah, who, until he was eighteen, lived with his mother a nomadic life in a trailer, crisscrossing the western regions of Canada, arrives in Montreal to study archaeology and discovers the "archaeology of trash" as an intriguing topic, "trash being the artifacts of civilization" and much "fishing" is involved. Joyce, from a long line of Doucettes of dubious reputation in Atlantic Canada, pursues her ambitions to live up to the family's tradition and to become a modern-day pirate. She also goes on fishing expeditions, but of a different kind: she scrounges through industry trash to find all the bits needed to get a workable computer built and much more... Finally, a first person narrator of a kind, who runs a second-hand bookshop also has some fishing to do...

Do these characters link together in some way? Are the connections stronger than strangers meeting in the night? It is for the reader to find out. The author introduces some secondary characters, charming in their own way, who may have to offer some clues or provide connections.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it
This book is packed full of imaginative ideas. It's quirky and intersting, like its characters. There's some wonderful use of language too. A good read.
Published on 26 Oct 2009 by Rob Collins
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever but lacking heart
As other reviews have mentioned, this is a story about parallel mostly non-intersecting lives.
The people in the book lead odd lives without being extra-ordinary, and the book... Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2009 by A. I. Mackenzie
3.0 out of 5 stars Nikolski
An interesting book that looked at the lives and situations of many characters that crossed paths at various points in the story. Read more
Published on 19 July 2009 by Philip Hale
2.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical to the point of lacking any real plot
In the city of Montreal, three people's lives intertwine in ways they aren't even aware of. By day, Joyce works in a fish shop, but as night falls she pursues her dream of becoming... Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2009 by Karura
3.0 out of 5 stars Not all that wanders is lost... but Nikolski may just be
This is a strange little book, and that seems to sell lately. Normally, if I was to write of a book that it is vague, has a tendency to wander all the over the place and, having... Read more
Published on 21 May 2009 by Christopher Halo
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written without being heavy
This is a fabulous tale of people skimming along the surface of society. That might make it sound worthy and right-on, but it isn't. It's silly, and irreverant, and mellow. Read more
Published on 17 April 2009 by Maclennane
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
Extremely readable, I managed to finish this in one afternoon. Nikolski is about 3 people, Noah, Joyce and one unnamed character who all live in Montreal and are all related... Read more
Published on 16 April 2009 by Rubbah
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking postmodern study of interconnectedness and...
This is one of the most intriguing novels I have read for some time. There is no "plot" or "story" as such, in the best postmodern manner. Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2009 by Colin Fortune
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