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Pickle Me This

September 28, 2010

On rereading Nikolski

During Canada Reads 2010, I was championing the champion Nikolski, but of course I was a little bit concerned because I’d read the book two years before, and what it if had changed in the meantime? Because books do that, of course, or at least their readers do (which I had to discover with a great deal of nausea once the day I sat down to reread that once-beloved Priscilla Presley autobiography Elvis and Me, but that is another story). So I decided that I would reread Nikolski, to ensure that my championship remains appropriate, and it’s with a great deal of pleasure and relief that I can announce that it has. I will say, however, that it’s not a book that is necessarily better the second time around (as Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin is, which is why I’ll be reading it for a third time in the next week or so) but it’s just as good, the prose just as rich, the text just as, um, textured. It’s a puzzle of a novel whose pieces fit together absolutely perfectly, the sum of its parts less remarkable than the fact of the summing itself, which is brilliant. In short, Nikolski is a book about books, the spells they cast, the paths they travel, and the paths they set us on.

2 thoughts on “On rereading Nikolski”

  1. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for bringing up We Need To Talk About Kevin, a good reminder to reread and happy to hear it’s better on the second time around, I read it a long time ago for my bookclub before having kids and I’m sure this time around as a mother of 2 will be a ride and a half!

  2. Kerry says:

    I also haven’t read it since having a baby, and I think it will resonate more than ever. Scarily so…

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