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Apocalypse for Beginners

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  737 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
From the author of Canada Reads winner Nikolski comes a sweet, smart and occasionally surreal romantic comedy, featuring two young friends who could become lovers — if only one of them hadn't convinced herself that the end of the world is nigh.

The Randall family was always a little strange. For generations, each member receives a prophetic vision of the apocalypse — but al
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Vintage Canada (first published 2009)
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Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite devouring this book as soon as it was in my hands (the synopsis was just enticing enough), there was some trepidation on my part. Nicolas Dickner gained recognition last year after winning CBC’s Canada Reads competition for his previous book, Nikolski. For the life of me, I don’t know how that came to pass. Nikolski, for me, represented what some claimed to be a growing problem with Canadian literature—that it was limp and non-committal, with narratives that lacked direction and too many ...more
Ariane Brosseau
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh. My. Nicolas Dickner.
Depuis ma lecture de Nikolski fin 2013 (déjà j'étais en retard sur les nouvelles), je suis profondément amoureuse de Nicolas Dickner. En tant qu'auteur. Évidemment. Je vous entends déjà dire «Ouain, mais tu sais que Barthes a dit que l'auteur est mort...». Ouain, bin, c'est pas grave. Nicolas Dickner, je l'aime, et ses narrateurs, je les marierais. (Probablement l'une des nombreuses raisons de mon long célibat!)

Et si on en venait aux faits? Après avoir longtemps dormi
With deft juxtaposition of the improbably tender and the wildly hilarious with grim facts extrapolated from the statistics of extinction, Nicolas Dicknerdelivers a penetrating glimpse into a future that is a little too close for comfort.

"As recent as it was,history was already running in a loop." p46

"The Randall family was full of surprises, most of them not very good."p114 When adolescent Mickey B spots Hope Randall slouched in the bleachers of the empty stadium, intent on her Russian grammar,
Elyse NG
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: qc
4.5* OK,j'aime Nicolas Dickner, c'est confirmé, je lui pardonne même ses fins sans conclusion formelles.
Steven Buechler
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"August 1989. Ronald Reagan had vacated the White House, the Cold War was winding down and the the outdoor municipal swimming pool was, once again, closed for maintenance.
Rivere-du Loup was immersed in a chicken broth of pollen-saturated, yellowish air, and I wandered glumly around the nieghbourhood, my towel around my neck. Just three days remainded before the start of the new school year, and nothing but a few good laps through chlorinated water could have boosted my morale.
I ended up at the m
I'm struggling because while I don't think this book is 3 stars for me personally, I would somehow feel bad about giving it 2 stars because it isn't a bad book at all. It's just... it felt really rushed. Events unfolded in little snippets but there were no lulls in-between to properly get to know the characters. It was a cutesy, quirky little story that felt entirely unbelievable and though I only finished it yesterday, I hardly remember it. I guess if you're looking for a super quick read that ...more
Andrea Paterson
An enjoyable and fast read. I sometimes felt that the author was trying too hard to cram in references to Canadiana, but he achieved an appealing quirkiness. I was also drawn in by the underlying discussion about what the apocalypse might really mean. Apocalyptic images are rampant and they have, to some extent, become embedded in the way we see the world and our own lives.
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011, québec
J'ai beaucoup aimé! Surtout le début - un peu moins après (view spoiler). L'amitié entre Hope et Mickey, tranquille et pleine de petits moments, était fort amusante à lire.

C'est pas important, mais: j'adore le look de l'édition Coda. Les citrons à l'intérieur!
Marilyn Belsham
Cute. Fun. Light. In a few years time I probably won't remember the details of the story, but for the moment I'm satisfied with the outcome.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started off well, but when the two main characters separate two thirds of the way through the novel it really suffers.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Enjoyable although the second half seemed to go slightly off-course. Brilliant characterisations.
sarah t
Pretty enjoyable read with some really crazy characters that flit in and out of the story. Made me crave ramen like you wouldn't believe.
Peter B
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dry, amusing, characters true and life-like believeable motivations for either doing or not doing things. The narrators are Hope who goes to Japan to find Charles Smith who has predicted the end of the world/life/Armaggedon and left behind her best friend and not lover Mickey Bauerman to live out his essentially meaningless existence in Riviere-de-Loup and Montreal. They are both looking and not finding…until the end when she gets her period and he gets a letter and goes looking for her. Not muc ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of Dickner's first three novels, this is the one that actually has a satisfying ending. I enjoy his writing overall, especially for its humour, interesting and strangely-motivated characters, and geographical bent.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Été 1989 à l’été 2001.
Fin du monde.
Rivière-du-Loup à Tokyo, en passant par New York, Seattle et Montréal.
2 adolescents.
Un amoureux.

Le style de l’auteur est différent.
Nicolas Dickner me rappèlera toujours mes années collégiales, le Café Morgane, le jazz et Floriane.
Leon Sammartino
Although enjoyable enough I was left wanting a bit more, not sureal enough to be all Muraki, but not grounded enough to remain believable.
Marie-France Leclerc
C'est le deuxième livre que je lis de cet auteur de Rivière-du-Loup. J'adore son style. J'ai hâte de lire son prochain roman!
Michèle Nicole Provencher
Un de mes livres favoris.
Laurence-Gabrielle Fournier
J'ai adoré ce livre, je l'ai dévoré! Il se lit si facilement, les événements coulent l'un à la suite de l'autre, le temps file s'en qu'on s'en aperçoive. J'ai découvert cet auteur avec ce livre et je compte bien en lire d'autres de lui.
Kay Hart
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is three days before the start of the school year and 17 year old Mickey Bauermann is feeling glum as he wanders around his small home town of Riviére-du-Loup in Quebec, Canada. The town is under a ‘chicken broth pollen-saturated, yellowish air’ smog and he’s in need of a ‘few good laps through chlorinated water’ as a mood booster. That’s when he decides to ‘meander into the empty Municipal Stadium’ where for the first time he meets Hope Randall ‘sitting in the very last row reading Teach You ...more
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

An adorable, quirky tale of boy meets girl, Apocalypse for Beginners is reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer or Juno type stories. Hope Randall is a very unique young woman, incredibly intelligent but also fixated on the possibility of the end of the world.

This was such an easy read - I borrowed it from the library at midday today, and I finished it about thirty minutes ago. It was a nice diversion from the heavy sci-fi. But part of the reason for it being such an
It is perfectly fitting that I picked this book up at the library on a whim. My hands were already full of books but I added this to my pile upon checkout for no particular reason. So much of this novel happens in much the same way - a series of mysterious and unknowable motives.

I walk away charmed by Dickner's novel which paints the world as random and coincidental. It is up to us to find the beauty, human connection, and courage to jump into the unknowability of each day. Apocalypse for Begin
I wish I could have read this novel with beginner's mind, instead of constantly remembering how much I loved Nikolski...but alas, no! I think it only fair to be honest that I went with 3 stars (instead of 4) because, with Nikolski, I treasured the reading, like a visit with wonderful and interesting friends. In Apocalypse for Beginners, I felt more like I was reading a journal of a young man trying to make sense of his friend, her family, mental illness and where he fit into this world (world= h ...more
David Yoon
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully quirky, coming of age book that kicks off in the late 80's in the small town of Riviere Du Loup where Mickey Bauermann is introduced to Hope Randall. She's the latest in line to realize the Randall curse - to predict the end of the world.

While the clan's visions of the apocalypse have proven less than accurate so far, when Hope discovers her date, further corroborated with by the expiry date of hundreds of ramen packages, she sets out across the globe looking for answers.

Sandra Dussault
Un mot pour le décrire : frustrant.
Frustrant parce qu'à chaque chapitre, je m'attendais à ce qu'il se passe enfin quelque chose, mais qu'à la place, l'auteur m'abreuvait d'un paquet d'informations sur les centrales nucléaires, Einstein, Pompéï et la tribu des Guajàs. C'est comme si Dickner avait voulu, dans son roman, inventorier toutes les informations plus ou moins utiles qu'il avait mémorisées au cours des années.
La fin est (view spoiler)
Shonna Froebel
I loved this book. It is written from the point of view of a young man, Mickey Bauermann, but focused on Hope Randall. Hope is from a family that is genetically predisposed to focus on the end of the world. As each family member goes through puberty they also become focused on a particular date as the end of the world. When that date is reached and world continues, they descend into madness. When her conceived date arrives, Hope's mother Ann decides she must head west from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. ...more
Mientras Lees
No he encajado con esta historia. Me ha parecido confusa, desestructurada y nada interesate. Los personajes ya casi se me han olvidado y no he encontrado ningún punto al que agarrarme mientras leía. O sea, me sentía totalmente fuera de la novela todo el tiempo. Se me ha hecho eterna y eso que no llega a las 200 páginas. Por otro lado, si el autor quería meter a Japón de por medio, podría haberselo currado un poco mejor: transcripciones sospechosas del japonés, errores garrafales como "fujiyama" ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quirky, adorably loveable female main character Hope is the last in the line of a family who each receives a vision of the end of the world. Problem is, the date is never correct, and each person tends to go off the deep end when the end of the world does not happen. Hope hasn't had her vision yet-maybe she is too buy caring for her crazy mother, who lost the plot before her date even arrived. Eventually, Hope derives a date for the apocalypse (based on various difficult numerical analyses), and ...more
Lana Mccarney
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lea, miriam
Just finished... not my usual, much more post modern, but totally loved it! Originally written in French, and based in Quebec, which also pleases me personally. Throw in some bizarre Japanese stuff and I'm hooked! (nail clipper vending machines?!) Thought provoking and personal. Written from a point of view a decade or so behind us, gives an interesting point of view, hinting forwards at things we already know will happen, like 9/11. My only regret was the damn open ended ending. I need closure, ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who loved Jessica Grant's "Come, Thou Tortoise"
A surreal coming of age story for a woman who comes from a family of apocalypse prophets (who usually go mad once their very personal apocalypse date passes with little fanfare) and her best friend (and secret admirer) who is destined to inherit the family concrete business.

While one heads off in search of the meaning of the expiry date of ramen noodles (all the way to Japan), the other tries to work out exactly what to do with his life. And during all this, the Berlin wall falls.

Fabulous read
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Nicolas Dickner est né à Rivière-du-Loup, a voyagé en Amérique latine et en Europe avant de jeter l’ancre à Québec puis à Montréal, où il vit aujourd’hui avec sa famille. Il signe en 2005 Nikolski, qui remporte le Prix des libraires du Québec, le Prix littéraire des collégiens ainsi que le prix Anne-Hébert et qui est, à ce jour, traduit dans une dizaine de langues. Tarmac, son deuxième roman paru ...more
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“Nothing looked more like the end of a world than the beginning of another.” 0 likes
“Doesn’t that throw an interesting light on the New Testament? The story begins with a pregnant woman riding a donkey toward Bethlehem. The very picture of vulnerability. Troubled times, dangerous roads—but the woman is in no hurry. She knows things that the reader doesn’t. She knows that there are still seven hundred pages to go before the Apocalypse.” 0 likes
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