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At nineteen Albertine is high on life and Canada, running penny-poor and rowdy with her tight-pantsed friends. She’s trying to learn to smoke. One more, she thinks, stubbing out on the 3 METERS FROM DOOR sign and lighting another. One more and I’ll get it right!

At twenty-nine she’s Californian: naturalized and commuting by Prius, in tasteful skirts and tighter shoes. The cigarettes are filched on furious breaks that leave her dizzy. She hasn’t emailed most of those kids in years.

At nine, Albertine is growing up to be a lion tamer, or, failing that, a fire hydrant.