"Despite the preponderance of clues and artefacts scattered throughout the story, Dickner does not tie everything up in a neat package. He lets certain threads dangle, giving Nikolski more substance and nuance. The story lingers in the mind long after the last page has been read, leaving the reader in its strange and wonderful orbit."
"Nikolski offers a breathtakingly original perception of the world, mixing geography, cartography and longing in a language and construction both intellectually sophisticated and emotionally affecting."
–The Globe and Mail
"The characters are so infused with vitality and surprise that they become unforgettable; the language (and in translation - remarkable) is as lively as the characters; and the humorous, sweetly sad view of life in general is engaging… This novel is so richly textured and multi-layered that a single short review may do it a disservice. But its comic brilliance is undeniable - a hugely enjoyable read."
"Chock full of arcane detail about the sea, fish lore, antique books, travel and archaeology, Nikolski is the product of an eccentric mind propelled by an exuberant spirit."
–Marianne Ackerman, The Walrus
"Lederhendler's cadences and elegant vocabulary are a pleasure to read, while Dickner inexorably sweeps the reader along with the tide as the characters mature. This novel will bring a smile to your face and will be one you will want to read again."
–Winnipeg Free Press
"One cannot say it enough: this book is the discovery of the year… The humour is striking; his vision stunning."
–Carole Beaulieu, L'actualité
"Nicolas Dickner has a limitless imagination, great erudition and an inventive pen. He is the incarnation of the future of Quebec writing - nothing less."
–Pierre Cayouette, L'actualité
"If you are interested in the great wide world, submerse yourself immediately in this phantasmagorical, lively and fascinating novel."
–Hugues Corriveau, Lettres québécoises
"A carefully crafted, sumptuous first novel that will restore your taste for flights of fancy and for treasure hunts in time and space."
–Benoît Jutras, Voir
"Stylish, offbeat, poignant and perceptive."
–David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas
"Dickner excites the imagination of the reader to the point of ecstasy."
"Nicolas Dickner, who uses beautifully spare prose which can be as darkly comic as it is affecting, isn't trying to tell a conventional story, he's trying to tap into a very modern idea: that we need to understand that we all connect with each other somehow, family or not. And he does so impressively well."
Born in Rivière-du-Loup in 1972, Nicolas Dickner grew up in Quebec and studied visual arts and literature in university. Afterwards, he travelled extensively in Europe and Latin America before settling in Montreal, where he now resides. Dickner won two literary awards for his first published work, the 2002 short story collection L'encyclopédie du petit cercle, including the Prix Adrienne-Choquette for the best collection of short fiction of the year. Dickner's first novel, Nikolski, was originally published in Quebec by Éditions Alto in 2005, and then in 2007 by Éditions Denoël in France. It soon garnered rave reviews and prestigious awards, including the Prix des libraires du Québec, the Prix littéraire des collegians, the Prix Anne-Hébert for best first book, and France's Prix Printemps des lecteurs - Lavinal. The English edition, with the translation done by Lazer Lederhendler, was published as part of Knopf Canada's well-regarded New Face of Fiction program in 2008. Since then, English rights have also been sold in the UK and the United States.
Nicolas Dickner is also the author of Boulevard Banquise, a children's book, and a second short story collection, Traité de balistique, both published in 2006. He is currently a literary columnist for Voir and is working on his next novel.
Lazer Lederhendler is a four-time finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, and won the award in 2008 for his translation of Nikolski. His translation of The Immaculate Conception by Gaétan Soucy was shortlisted for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the French-to-English Translation Prize from the Quebec Writers' Federation. Lederhendler lives in Montreal, where he teaches English and film at the Collège international des Marcellines.
Excellent writing style and carefully placed symbols allowed me to draw on more connections than I had time for. An excellent read!Published 22 months ago by A S
Nicolas Dickner's Nikolski is by no means a bad read, especially if, as a reader, you're in it more for the ride than the destination.Published on Sept. 15 2010 by IP
The first 100 pages of this novel were fantastic. The middle section was enjoyable but seemed to lack the momentum of the beginning. Read morePublished on June 2 2010 by Steve Z. McCauley