Apocalypse for Beginners

Publisher: Vintage Canada
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 always on a different date. When the End of Days fails to materialize, yet another Randall goes mad.

In the summer of 1989, Hope Randall's mother, in an attempt to forestall the latest imminent apocalypse, loads up the Lada and heads west from Yarmouth. After their car dies in Rivière-du-Loup, the mother and daughter put down roots, as yet another day of reckoning comes and goes.

Mickey Bauermann has never seen the likes of the red-headed wonder that is Hope, whose idea of a good time is spending Friday nights watching David Suzuki reveal the mysteries of science on TV. The Bauermann family has been in the concrete business for generations, but Mickey has other ideas of what he wants to do with his life. For now, he spends every available second with Hope, whose mother has become increasingly unhinged. The teens take refuge in Mickey's bungalow basement, aka The Bunker, where they watch the twentieth century crumble and transform on the small screen.

But when Hope's destiny as a Randall is revealed by chance — and by a bomb shelter's worth of ramen noodles — the time for hiding out is past. For Hope, the only way to deal with the end of the world is to confront it head on. The journey begins...


August 1989. Ronald Reagan had vacated the White House, the Cold War was winding down and the outdoor municipal swimming pool was, once again, closed for maintenance.
Rivière-du-Loup was immersed in a chicken broth of pollen-saturated, yellowish air, and I wandered...
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"Ramen noodles, the Berlin wall, David Suzuki, pretzels, white cowboy boots, Hiroshima, Kuwait, Nana Mouskouri, sparkly blue nailpolish, zombies, young love… Apocalypse for Beginners is fresh and quirky and darkly fun. Fans of Nikolski will not be disappointed."
 — Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean

“An enjoyably eccentric novel. . . . A bizarre and darkly funny journey. Part romance, part mystery, part absurdist comedy, it is a worthy follow-up to Dickner’s acclaimed debut.”
 — Winnipeg Free Press
“The surface sparkles with historical and pop-cultural references, a sweet and subtle love story and marvellous, quirky fixations (including David Suzuki, baseball stadiums and the number of lemons required to power an atomic bomb).”  
 — Quill & Quire

“Charming. . . . The novel twinkles with the same idiosyncratic rhythm that made Nikolski such a delight. . . . By turns sharp, thoughtful and sweet. . . . With a writer as nimble as Dickner in our midst, here’s hoping that [the world does not end] . . . any time soon.”
— Emily Landau, The Globe and Mail
“We’re reminded that part of what made Nikolski so deservedly popular was Dickner’s deft hand with tone and mood. . . . Those strengths are on even greater display in the new novel.”
— The Gazette

“This slickly composed novel glides between Quebec, Seattle and Tokyo and gleams with on-trend observation and doomsday cynicism.”
— The Independent
“An eccentric, ebullient romantic comedy about deep friendship and eternal love.”
— Kate Saunders, The Times