Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler
In Nikolski, author Nicolas Dickner playfully explores the invisible connections that tie us to people who might seem to be strangers, and the ways in which fate intervenes to shape our paths through the world. The novel follows a trio of young Canadians living in Montreal in the late 1980s: Joyce, a 20-something Acadian steeped in her family's pirate legacy; nomadic Noah, who grew up criss-crossing western Canada in a trailer and is fascinated with the anthropology of trash; and a mysterious unnamed narrator, whose lodestar is an off-kilter compass.
Nikolski won the Governor General's Literary Award for translation in 2008. The novel, championed by Michel Vézina, won Canada Reads 2010.
In my view, fate is like intelligence, or beauty, or type z + lymphocytes — some individuals have a greater supply than others. I, for one, suffer from a deficiency; I am a clerk in a bookstore whose life is devoid of complications or a storyline of its own. My life is governed by the attraction of books. The weak magnetic field of my fate is distorted by those thousands of fates more powerful and more interesting than my own.
From Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler ©2008. Published by Vintage/Random House of Canada.