Spring 1989. Three young people leave their far-flung birthplaces to follow their own songs of migration. Each ends up in Montreal, each on a voyage of self-discovery, dealing with the mishaps of heartbreak and the twisted branches of their shared family tree.
Filled with humor, charm, and good storytelling, this novel shows the surprising links between cartography, garbage-obsessed archeologists, pirates past and present, a mysterious book with no cover, and a broken compass whose needle obstinately points to the Aleutian village of Nikolski (a minuscule village inhabited by thirty-six people, five thousand sheep, and an indeterminate number of dogs).
"There is a real strain of romanticism in Quebec novels. One of the most beautiful is Nikolski, by first-time novelist Nicholas Dickner. It offers a breathtakingly original perception of the world, mixing geography, cartography, and longing in a language and construction both intellectually sophisticated and emotionally affecting." —Globe and Mail
"With the obvious (and wicked?) pleasure of a born storyteller, Nicholas Dickner has us holding our breath with his many narratives that join up in most unexpected ways, continuing to surprise us at every turn." —Prix Anne-Hebert jury (Nikolski won the prize in 2006 for Best First Book)
"Dickner excites the imagination of the reader to the point of ecstasy." —Le Monde
"Nikolski is a great success, both for its structure and its imagination." —La Presse