About this book
In boomtown Western Canada, a quirky young woman grows up amid a family dynamic that leaves her feeling misunderstood and left out. She's a child of immigrants from war-torn Germany and Croatia, parents who cling to vestiges of a traumatic past that never seem real enough for their daughter. To leave her stifling family behind and to forge a "new normal," she earnestly tries to fit in with her best friend Vera and family, and subsequently―crazily―an even more rigid life of Mormonism. Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot is a narrative of longing for self-creation, but also for self-destruction, restlessly twisting and turning through triangular friendships, teenage delinquents, Nazi killing hospitals for the disabled, the inane ex-boyfriend, a dying father's sudden conversion to parenting, and fantastic tales of the Mormon Angel Moroni on estrogen. One's own story, so she discovers as she invents it, is both an escape from, and a coming to terms with, the scrapbook that is life.
The language in this novel is sensuous, inventive, down-to-earth, poetic. Here, the Canadian novel―in the tradition of Robert Kroetsch, Joan Barfoot, Lisa Moore, and now Nicole Markotić―continues to develop personal histories that plummet readers into the world of storytelling.
Nicole Markotić's new novel is a dizzying, brazen, innovative, radical take on young women's lives in the middle of new urban conundrums. After the questioning of our cosmic systems of belief, she gives us a scrapbook of revelations, of memories, of confessions. She dares us to re-imagine our very identities. Readers, rejoice.
A pleasure to read. It reminds us that we can never become something we aren't, but neither can we entirely escape the self we have tried to become.
Quill & Quire
Markotic has created a fascinating romp through multiculturalism, and she writes both comically and tenderly about family and the way families communicate (or not).
The Globe and Mail
Reading Nicole Markotic's second novel, Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot, is like sitting next to an acquaintance who's flipping through a scrapbook of photos and mementos, relating at length the stories they spark.... The narrator's tantalizing recollectons are vivid, funny, tender, and affecting.
The story is strange and human; it sometimes catches you offguard but could easily be the personal history you stitch together out of anecdotes from a friend with an interesting past. Kudos to Nicole Markotic for giving such life to her characters.
An entertaining read.
Nicole Markotic's Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot is startlingly good.... The storytelling is so sweet, and her characters are so honest and genuine, you would swear this is a well-written diary. A terribly interesting well-written diary.