In Nikolski Montreal is a migratory hub, a city where nomads wind up, at least for a time. They carry their histories with them, mapping their routes and their roots as they go. Joyce leaves the fishing village of Tête-à-la-Baleine, Quebec, to become a pirate… Noah arrives from the Canadian prairies to study (even if there is no program in International Roaming at the university)… And, following the needle of a broken compass, the sights of an unnamed bookseller reach far beyond the confines of his shop. Each of these wayfarers follows a different path, yet, like three separate books held together in one volume, they’re bound together. Nikolski has won a number of literary awards in both its original French and translated English editions.
Montreal landmarks in Nikolski: Jean-Talon Market, Dante Park, Little Italy, rue St-Laurent, rue Guy
Nicolas Dickner, novelist and short story writer, was born in Rivière-du-Loup. He’s travelled in Latin America and Europe, but ultimately returned to Quebec and now lives in Montreal with his family. Dickner discussed the Montreal of Nikolski with Hannah Sung from the CBC Book Club: “Like most North American cities, we don’t feel like Montreal is a historic city, but what I discovered […] is that there is indeed a story […] lots of remains of those former skins of Montreal, but you have to look in a different way.”¹
Next up: Serafim and Claire by Mark Lavorato.
Photo credit: Damien D.