Apocalypse For Beginners, By Nicolas Dickner

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The Independent Culture

The follow-up to Dickner's debut novel, Nikolski, follows the fortunes of 17-year-old Canadian Mickey, the scion of a cement dynasty, and Hope, a redhead who has just moved into town with her survivalist mother.

When they meet in the sweaty summer of 1989, something akin to romance takes place but is complicated by Hope's strange inhertitance - she comes from a family cursed with apocalyptic visions of the future. In Hope's case, the end of the world is heralded by the best-before date on a ramen noodles package.

This slickly composed novel (translated by Lazer Lederhendler) glides between Quebec, Seattle and Toyko. It gleams with on-trend observation and doomsday cynicism, but might leave post-pubescent readers hungry for more.