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Understanding the nonequilibrium behavior of quantum systems is a major goal of contemporary physics. Much research is currently focused on the dynamics of many-body systems in low-dimensional lattices following a quench, i.e., a sudden change of parameters. Already such a simple setting poses substantial theoretical challenges for the investigation of the real-time postquench quantum dynamics. In classical many-body systems, the Kolmogorov-Mehl-Johnson-Avrami model describes the phase transformation kinetics of a system that is quenched across a first-order phase transition. Here, we show that a similar approach can be applied for shedding light on the quench dynamics of an interacting gas of Rydberg atoms, which has become an important experimental platform for the investigation of quantum nonequilibrium effects. We are able to gain an analytical understanding of the time evolution following a sudden quench from an initial state devoid of Rydberg atoms and identify strikingly different behaviors of the excitation growth in the classical and quantum regimes. Our approach allows us to describe quenches near a nonequilibrium phase transition and provides an approximate analytical solution deep in the quantum domain.