The Nix

The Nix

by Nathan Hill

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Overview

Winner of the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
A New York Times
2016 Notable Book
Entertainment Weekly's #1 Book of the Year
A Washington Post 2016 Notable Book
A Slate Top Ten Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“The Nix is a mother-son psychodrama with ghosts and politics, but it’s also a tragicomedy about anger and sanctimony in America. . . .  Nathan Hill is a maestro.” —John Irving 

From the suburban Midwest to New York City to the 1968 riots that rocked Chicago and beyond, The Nix explores—with sharp humor and a fierce tenderness—the resilience of love and home, even in times of radical change.

It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson—college professor, stalled writer—has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.

To save her, Samuel will have to embark on his own journey, uncovering long-buried secrets about the woman he thought he knew, secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. As he does so, Samuel will confront not only Faye’s losses but also his own lost love, and will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother, and himself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101946626
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/30/2016
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 19,300
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

NATHAN HILL’s short fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including The Iowa Review, AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, and Fiction, which awarded him its annual Fiction Prize. A native Iowan, he lives with his wife in Naples, Florida. 

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE
 
Late Summer 1988
 
If Samuel had known his mother was leaving, he might have paid more attention. He might have listened more carefully to her, observed her more closely, written certain crucial things down. Maybe he could have acted differently, spoken differently, been a different person.
 
Maybe he could have been a child worth sticking around for.
 
But Samuel did not know his mother was leaving. He did not know she had been leaving for many months now—in secret, and in pieces. She had been removing items from the house one by one. A single dress from her closet. Then a lone photo from the album. A fork from the silverware drawer. A quilt from under the bed. Every week, she took something new. A sweater. A pair of shoes. A Christmas ornament. A book. Slowly, her presence in the house grew thinner.
 
She’d been at it almost a year when Samuel and his father began to sense something, a sort of instability, a puzzling and disturbing and some-times even sinister feeling of depletion. It struck them at odd moments. They looked at the bookshelf and thought: Don’t we own more books than that? They walked by the china cabinet and felt sure something was missing. But what? They could not give it a name—this impression that life’s details were being reorganized. They didn’t understand that the reason they were no longer eating Crock-­Pot meals was that the Crock-Pot was no longer in the house. If the bookshelf seemed bare, it was because she had pruned it of its poetry. If the china cabinet seemed a little vacant, it was because two plates, two bowls, and a teapot had been lifted from the collection.
 
They were being burglarized at a very slow pace.
 
“Didn’t there used to be more photos on that wall?” Samuel’s father said, standing at the foot of the stairs, squinting. “Didn’t we have that picture from the Grand Canyon up there?”
 
“No,” Samuel’s mother said. “We put that picture away.”
 
“We did? I don’t remember that.”
 
“It was your decision.”
 
“It was?” he said, befuddled. He thought he was losing his mind. Years later, in a high-school biology class, Samuel heard a story about a certain kind of African turtle that swam across the ocean to lay its eggs in South America. Scientists could find no reason for the enormous trip. Why did the turtles do it? The leading theory was that they began doing it eons ago, when South America and Africa were still locked together. Back then, only a river might have separated the continents, and the turtles laid their eggs on the river’s far bank. But then the continents began drifting apart, and the river widened by about an inch per year, which would have been invisible to the turtles. So they kept going to the same spot, the far bank of the river, each generation swimming a tiny bit farther than the last one, and after a hundred million years of this, the river had become an ocean, and yet the turtles never noticed.
 
This, Samuel decided, was the manner of his mother’s departure. This was how she moved away—imperceptibly, slowly, bit by bit. She whittled down her life until the only thing left to remove was herself.
 
On the day she disappeared, she left the house with a single suitcase.
 

1

the headline appears one afternoon on several news websites almost simultaneously: governor packer attacked!

Television picks it up moments later, bumping into programming for a Breaking News Alert as the anchor looks gravely into the camera and says, “We’re hearing from our correspondents in Chicago that Governor Sheldon Packer has been attacked.” And that’s all anyone knows for a while, that he was attacked. And for a few dizzying minutes everyone has the same two questions: Is he dead? And: Is there video?

The first word comes from reporters on the scene, who call in with cell phones and are put on the air live. They say Packer was at the Conrad Hilton Hotel hosting a dinner and speech. Afterward, he was making his way with his entourage through Grant Park, glad-­handing, baby-­kissing, doing all your typical populist campaign maneuvers, when suddenly from out of the crowd a person or a group of people began to attack.

“What do you mean attack?” the anchor asks. He sits in a studio with shiny black floors and a lighting scheme of red, white, and blue. His face is smooth as cake fondant. Behind him, people at desks seem to be working. He says: “Could you describe the attack?”

“All I actually know right now,” the reporter says, “is that things were thrown.”

“What things?”

“That is unclear at this time.”

“Was the governor struck by any of the things? Is he injured?”

“I believe he was struck, yes.”

“Did you see the attackers? Were there many of them? Throwing the things?”

“There was a lot of confusion. And some yelling.”

“The things that were thrown, were they big things or small things?”

“I guess I would say small enough to be thrown.”

“Were they larger than baseballs, the thrown things?”

“No, smaller.”

“So golf-­ball-­size things?”

“Maybe that’s accurate.”

“Were they sharp? Were they heavy?”

“It all happened very fast.”

“Was it premeditated? Or a conspiracy?”

“There are many questions of that sort being asked.”

A logo is made: Terror in Chicago. It whooshes to a spot next to the anchor’s ear and flaps like a flag in the wind. The news displays a map of Grant Park on a massive touch-­screen television in what has become a commonplace of modern newscasting: someone on television communicating via another television, standing in front of the television and controlling the screen by pinching it with his hands and zooming in and out in super-­high definition. It all looks really cool.

While they wait for new information to surface, they debate whether this incident will help or hurt the governor’s presidential chances. Help, they decide, as his name recognition is pretty low outside of a rabid conservative evangelical following who just loves what he did during his tenure as governor of Wyoming, where he banned abortion outright and required the Ten Commandments to be publicly spoken by children and teachers every morning before the Pledge of Allegiance and made English the official and only legal language of Wyoming and banned anyone not fluent in English from owning property. Also he permitted firearms in every state wildlife refuge. And he issued an executive order requiring state law to supersede federal law in all matters, a move that amounted to, according to constitutional scholars, a fiat secession of Wyoming from the United States. He wore cowboy boots. He held press conferences at his cattle ranch. He carried an actual live real gun, a revolver that dangled in a leather holster at his hip.

At the end of his one term as governor, he declared he was not running for reelection in order to focus on national priorities, and the media naturally took this to mean he was running for president. He perfected a sort of preacher-­slash-­cowboy pathos and an antielitist populism and found a receptive audience especially among blue-­collar white conservatives put out by the current recession. He compared immigrants taking American jobs to coyotes killing livestock, and when he did this he pronounced coyotes pointedly with two syllables: ky-­oats. He put an r sound in Washington so it became Warshington. He said bushed instead of tired. He said yallow for yellow and crick for creek.

Supporters said that’s just how normal, nonelite people from Wyoming talked.

His detractors loved pointing out that since the courts had struck down almost all of his Wyoming initiatives, his legislative record was effectively nil. None of that seemed to matter to the people who continued to pay for his $500-­a-­plate fund-­raisers (which, by the way, he called “grub-­downs”) and his $10,000 lecture fees and his $30 hardcover book, The Heart of a True American, loading up his “war chest,” as the reporters liked to call it, for a “future presidential run, maybe.”

And now the governor has been attacked! Though nobody seems to know how he’s been attacked, what he’s been attacked with, who he’s been attacked by, or if the attack has injured him. News anchors speculate at the potential damage of taking a ball bearing or marble at high velocity right in the eye. They talk about this for a good ten minutes, with charts showing how a small mass traveling at close to sixty miles per hour could penetrate the eye’s liquid membrane. When this topic wears itself out, they break for commercials. They promote their upcoming documentary on the ten-­year anniversary of 9/11: Day of Terror, Decade of War. They wait.

Then something happens to save the news from the state of idleness into which it has drifted: The anchor reappears and announces that a bystander caught the whole spectacular thing on video and has now posted it online.

And so here is the video that’s going to be shown several thousand times on television over the next week, that will collect millions of hits and become the third-­most-­watched internet clip this month behind the new music video from teen pop singing sensation Molly Miller for her single “You Have Got to Represent,” and a family video of a toddler laughing until he falls over. Here is what happens:

The video begins in whiteness and wind, the sound of wind blowing over an exposed microphone, then fingers fumbling over and pressing into the mic to create seashell-­like swooshing sounds as the camera adjusts its aperture to the bright day and the whiteness resolves to a blue sky, indistinct unfocused greenishness that is presumably grass, and then a voice, a man’s voice loud and too close to the mic: “Is it on? I don’t know if it’s on.”

The picture comes into focus just as the man points the camera at his own feet. He says in an annoyed and exasperated way, “Is this even on? How can you tell?” And then a woman’s voice, calmer, melodious, peaceful, says, “You look at the back. What does it say on the back?” And her husband or boyfriend or whoever he is, who cannot manage to keep the picture steady, says “Would you just help me?” in this aggressive and accusatory way that’s meant to communicate that whatever problem he’s having with the camera is her responsibility. The video through all this is a jumpy, dizzying close-­up of the man’s shoes. Puffy white high-­tops. Extraordinarily white and new-­looking. He seems to be standing on top of a picnic table. “What does it say on the back?” the woman asks.

“Where? What back?”

“On the screen.”

“I know that,” he says. “Where on the screen?”

“In the bottom right corner,” she says with perfect equanimity. “What does it say?”

“It says R.”

“That means it’s recording. It’s on.”

“That’s stupid,” he says. “Why doesn’t it say On?”

The picture bobs between his shoes and what seems to be a crowd of people in the middle distance.

“There he is! Lookit! That’s him! There he is!” the man shouts. He points the camera forward and, when he finally manages to keep it from trembling, Sheldon Packer comes into view, about thirty yards away and surrounded by campaign staffers and security. There is a light crowd. People in the foreground becoming suddenly aware that something’s happening, that someone famous is nearby. The cameraman is now yelling: “Governor! Governor! Governor! Governor! Governor! Governor! Governor!” The picture begins shaking again, presumably from this guy waving or jumping or both.

“How do you make this thing zoom?” he says.

“You press Zoom,” says the woman. Then the picture begins to zoom, which causes even more focus-­ and exposure-­related problems. In fact, the only reason any of this footage is at all usable on television is because the man eventually hands the camera to his partner, saying, “Here, would you just take this?” He rushes over to shake the governor’s hand.

Later all of this blather will be edited out, so the clip that will be repeated hundreds of times on television will begin here, paused, as the news puts a small red circle around a woman sitting on a park bench on the right side of the screen. “This appears to be the perpetrator,” the anchor says. She’s white-­haired, probably sixty, sitting there reading a book, in no way unusual, like an extra in a movie, filling out the frame. She’s wearing a light blue shirt over a tank top, black leggings that look elastic and yoga-­inspired. Her short hair is tousled and falls in little spikes over her forehead. She seems to have an athletic compactness to her—­thin but also muscular. She notices what’s happening around her. She sees the governor approaching and closes her book and stands and watches. She’s on the edge of the frame seemingly trying to decide what to do. Her hands are on her hips. She’s biting the inside of her mouth. It looks like she’s weighing her options. The question this pose seems to ask is: Should I?

Then she starts walking, quickly, toward the governor. She has discarded her book on the bench and she’s walking, taking these large strides like suburbanites doing laps around the mall. Except her arms stay steady at her sides, her fists in balls. She gets close enough to the governor that she’s within throwing range and, at that moment, fortuitously, the crowd parts, so from the vantage point of our videographer there’s a clear line of sight from this woman to the governor. The woman stands on a gravel path and looks down and bends at her knees and scoops up a handful of rocks. Thus armed, she yells—­and this is very clear, as the wind dies down exactly at this moment and the crowd seems to hush, almost as if everyone knows this event is going to happen and so they all do what they can to successfully capture it—­she yells, “You pig!” And then she throws the rocks.

At first there’s just confusion as people turn to see where the yelling is coming from, or they wince and flinch away as they are struck by the stones. And then the woman scoops another handful of rocks and throws, and scoops and throws and scoops and throws, like a child in an all-­out snowball war. The small crowd ducks for cover and mothers protect their children’s faces and the governor doubles over, his hand covering his right eye. And the woman keeps throwing rocks until the governor’s security guards reach her and tackle her. Or not really tackle but rather embrace her and slump to the ground, like exhausted wrestlers.

And that’s it. The whole video lasts less than a minute. After the broadcast, certain facts become available in short order. The woman’s name is released: Faye Andresen-­Anderson, which everyone on the news mistakenly pronounces as “Anderson-­Anderson,” making parallels to other infamous double names, notably Sirhan Sirhan. It is quickly discovered that she is a teaching assistant at a local elementary school, which gives ammunition to certain pundits who say it shows how the radical liberal agenda has taken over public education. The headline is updated to teacher attacks gov. packer! for about an hour until someone manages to find an image that allegedly shows the woman attending a protest in 1968. In the photo, she sits in a field with thousands of others, a great indistinct mass of people, many of them holding homemade banners or signs, one of them waving high an American flag. The woman looks at the photographer drowsily from behind her big round eyeglasses. She leans to her right like she might be sleeping on or resting against someone who’s barely out of frame—all that’s visible is a shoulder. To her left, a woman with long hair and an army jacket stares menacingly at the camera over silver aviator shades.

The headline changes to sixties radical attacks gov. packer!

And as if the story isn’t delicious enough already, two things happen near the end of the workday to vault it into the stratosphere, water-­cooler-­wise. First, it’s reported that Governor Packer is having emergency surgery on his eyeball. And second, a mug shot is unearthed that shows the woman was arrested in 1968—­though never officially charged or convicted—­for prostitution.

This is just too much. How can one headline possibly gather all these amazing details? radical hippie prostitute teacher blinds gov. packer in vicious attack!

The news plays over and over the part of the video where the governor is struck. They enlarge it so it’s all pixelated and grainy in a valiant effort to show everyone the exact moment that a sharp piece of gravel splashes into his right cornea. Pundits argue about the meaning of the attack and whether it represents a threat to democracy. Some call the woman a terrorist, others say it shows how far our political discourse has fallen, others say the governor pretty much asked for it by being such a reckless crusader for guns. Comparisons are made with the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers. The NRA releases a statement saying the attack never would have happened had Governor Packer been carrying his revolver. The people working at their desks behind the TV anchor, meanwhile, do not appear at this moment to be working any harder or less hard than they were earlier in the day.

It takes about forty-­five minutes for a clever copywriter to come up with the phrase “Packer Attacker,” which is promptly adopted by all the networks and incorporated into the special logos they make for the coverage.

The woman herself is being kept in a downtown jail awaiting arraignment and is unavailable for comment. Without her explanation, the narrative of the day forms when opinion and assumption combine with a few facts to create an ur-­story that hardens in people’s minds: The woman is a former hippie and current liberal radical who hates the governor so much that she waited in a premeditated way to viciously attack him.

Except there’s a glaring logical hole in this theory, which is that the governor’s jaunt through the park was an impromptu move that not even his security detail knew about. Thus the woman couldn’t have known he was coming and so couldn’t have been waiting in ambush. However, this inconsistency is lost in the more sensational news items and is never fully investigated.

Excerpted from The Nix by Nathan Hill. Copyright © 2016 by Nathan Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Reading Group Guide

The introduction, author biography, discussion questions, and suggested reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of The Nix, the captivating debut novel by Nathan Hill.

1. Why do you think that the author chose to call his novel The Nix? What is a Nix according to folklore? How does the Nix function symbolically within the novel and which major themes of the novel does it help to facilitate or uncover? Who in the story believes himself or herself to be a Nix and why? Do you agree with that person? Why or why not?

2. At the beginning of the story, Faye reveals that she believes the things a person loves the most will ultimately hurt them the worst. Which events in her life may have caused her to adopt this point of view? Does the rest of the book seem to support this view of love or overturn it? Does Faye ever change her mind about this? Does her son, Samuel, share her view of love? Discuss.

3. Why does Faye leave her son, Samuel, and her husband? How does Samuel react to her departure, and what impact does this abandonment have on his life and development? What is it like when the two reunite? How does their relationship change over the course of the book, and what causes these changes? Do either of the characters seem to achieve catharsis? If so, how?

4. How do Faye’s parents react when she is accepted at the University of Illinois’s new Chicago Circle campus and tells them that she wants to attend? Why do you think that they have this reaction? How does Faye herself seem to feel about the prospect of leaving home? What helps her to make the final decision to go to Chicago, and why does her father tell her to never come back? Why do you think Faye refrains from addressing the misunderstanding that has caused so much strife between her and her parents?

5. Evaluate the treatment of women in the book. What kinds of experiences do the female characters share? How are they treated by the male? What do the men in the book think women should be like? Do the women meet these expectations or defy them? Explain. In the sections set in the 1960s and ’70s, how does feminism seem to impact the way that the women are perceived by those around them? How do they respond to these expectations and stereotypes? Is Faye’s experience similar to the experiences of the other women or very different? Discuss.

6. Compare and contrast the parent-child relationships in the book. How does Samuel and Faye’s relationship compare to Faye’s own relationship with her father, Frank? How well does each child know his or her parent? What prevents them from knowing this parent better? How do the relationships change over time, and what causes these changes? When considered together, what do these relationships suggest about the nature of the parent-child relationship in generals? Explain.

7. Evaluate the treatment of technology in the book. Is technology portrayed as a positive invention or a negative one? How does the characters’ use of technology affect their communication, their daily lives, and their development as people? Why are Samuel and Pwange especially addicted to Elfscape, and why does Pwange believe that Elfscape is more meaningful than the real world? What function or purpose does the game serve in their lives? What might this relationship reveal about contemporary life?

8. Consider the theme of the relationship between storytelling and point of view. What does the treatment of Faye’s story in the press reveal about this topic? Does the press, as depicted in the novel, provide fair and unbiased accounts of the news they report? What does the book also suggest about the publishing industry? Are the stories that each of the characters tells truthful and reliable? What does this information reveal about how we should approach storytelling as both storytellers and readers/listeners? Does the book ultimately suggest how we can best determine whether or not a source is reliable and a story is true?

9. Explore the motif of secrets. What are some of the secrets that the characters keep? Why do they keep these things secret? Do any of the characters ever reveal their secrets? If so, what is the outcome, and how are these secrets received? What do the responses to these reveals suggest about our fears of being known completely?

10. In the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure portion of the book, what choice does Samuel make when Bethany asks him if he can help her avoid her upcoming nuptials and invites him into her bedroom? Why does he make this choice? Do you believe it was the right choice? Why or why not? After some time passes, how does Samuel come to view his decision in that moment?

11. Evaluate the theme of shame. What causes the various characters in the novel to feel shame? How does the prevalence of this feeling impact their lives, the people they become, and the life choices they make? Do any of the characters overcome their feelings of shame? If so, how do they accomplish this?

12. Consider the portrayal of suburban middle-class living in the novel. How did industry affect and shape American life? What clues can we find in descriptions of the landscape? Does the book suggest whether industry provided a happier or better existence for families? For instance, is Frank living a better life because of his willingness to leave his home in Norway? What would you say the novel ultimately suggests about progress and the American dream?

13. What kinds of stories does Frank share with his daughter, Faye, as she is growing up? What effect do these stories have on her? Why do you think that she chooses to share these tales with her own son? What seems to be the purpose of telling these stories? What lessons or messages do the stories contain?

14. When Faye reaches Norway, how does what she finds compare to what her father had shared with her about his home and his past? Who is Freya, and how does Faye’s knowledge of who Freya is affect the way that she relates to and understands her father? How does the trip to Norway ultimately affect Faye’s relationship with her father and with Samuel?

15. Many of the characters in the book engage in some type of art. What role or purpose does art seem to fulfill in their lives? Why does Samuel decide to become a novelist? What does he hope that his book The Nix will achieve?

16. Evaluate the theme and motif of protest. In addition to the protests that Faye takes part in as a young woman, Samuel attends a protest with Bethany and serves as a witness to other protests. What are some of the causes that the characters protest? What happens at the protests? Are they successful? What do you think Walter Cronkite meant when he observes that maybe the story isn’t the people protesting but the people who are not? Does the book ultimately portray protest as a valuable pursuit or a futile one? What seems to be the purpose of protest? Discuss.

17. Why does Judge Charlie Brown take on the case against Faye? How do the two know each other? Does Judge Brown get the outcome he desires? Why or why not? What does Brown’s character suggest about fairness and justice in the world?

18. Who is Sebastian? How does Faye meet Sebastian, and why is she initially drawn to him? What is her reaction to the revelation of his true identity? What does Faye recognize as their common bond?

19. Consider the collective view of America that the novel offers. What does this America look like? Would you say that is an accurate portrayal? Why or why not? How does the author use comedy and the absurd to pose truths about the cultural and political landscape? Alternatively, how does he employ elements of tragedy to accomplish this? Does one method seem to be more successful in accomplishing this than the other? Explain.

20. In addition to the story of the Nix, another recurring tale in the novel is the parable of the elephant. What is the lesson in this parable, and what does it reveal about the true self? How might this message or way of looking at things shape your own understanding of and response to the characters in the book?

21. At the end of the book, Faye thinks: “Something does not have to happen for it to feel real” (581). What do you think she means by this? What might her statement suggest about the past, memory, imagination, and regret?

Customer Reviews

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The Nix: A novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a great read and a book that will pull you in from the first page and have you invested until the very end then look no further. This book is a masterpiece, it has the craft of someone who has written countless books. The fact that this is Nathan's first book makes me hope that his next one won't take 10 years to write!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Could not put it down. There are so many stories in this book and they all connect in a wonderful way. I hope for another book from this author soon.
Diane Abramson More than 1 year ago
This book is shockingly brilliant. Two years after being published and receiving numerous accolades, I picked up The Nix knowing very little about all the hype. The storyline is rich and complex; the characters are well-developed and relatable, and the author's choice of words is alluring, engaging, and at times, arresting. There are very few books in which I'm absolutely taken by not only the story, but also by the craft in which the author has written the book. This is one of those books. I don't want to provide a synopsis of the book, because it almost doesn't matter. You will enjoy this book, I promise. It's more important that you read this book to appreciate the sagacity of the author. This might be his one instance of genius, but hopefully, he will continue to publish works of fiction on par with his freshman novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intelligently written; strong, believable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, having been an adolescent in the late 60's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intelligently written; strong, believable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, having been an adolescent in the late 60's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books I ever read. ~*~LEB~*~
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written. Interesting characters and story layout. Enjoyed the multiple storylines and time flips. Great insights to family and growing up relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book, dragged a bit in a few places.
JMTJTC More than 1 year ago
“The flip side of being a person who never fails at anything is that you never do anything you could fail at. You never do anything risky. There’s a certain essential lack of courage among people who seem to be good at everything.” Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction. Number of Pages: 628. Perspective: Alternating Third. Location: Rural Pennsylvania. This book is about a writer who sees his mother on the news for stoning a politician. Since he hasn’t seen her since he was a child and needs a book concept, he decides to write a tell-all and uncover all the secrets of his mother’s past. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It utilized the true definition of character development. Some of the backstories I loved and others felt unnecessary. I didn't think the video gamer he befriended was necessary to the book. But as a short story, it would have been really interesting and it did provide a great perspective. I kept waiting and waiting for it all to tie together. I wasn't super thrilled with how it all lined up, but it was at least a somewhat satisfying ending. I think some of the backstories and characters could have been cut out to make the book shorter. It was entertaining, but so long. I kept getting distracted by faster reads. To read the rest of my review, go here: http://judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-nix-nathan-hill.html
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the voice of the narrator in this book. The story felt real and eerie given the state of the country in 2016/2017. I'd write more but I wouldn't do it justice. You need to sink into the book yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A phenomenal telling of interesting characters who are all just so human.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Nix is absolutely one of the best books that I have had the privilege to read in the last few years. I had heard great news about it and was not surprised. It lived up to its notice in spades. Nathan Hill is one helluva writer. A Nix is a ghost, something that follows us until we die. The protagonist in this involving and amusing story is an emotionally stilted, frustrated, lonely and bright English professor at a small-time university. His passion is video games and lamentation while dealing with today’s byzantine academic rules and procedures that plague anybody in academia, including this reviewer. When he was a small child, his mother deserted him and his father. Twenty some years later he has an opportunity to reunite with her. His mother has become infamous for an event that I will not mention. The Nix is a wonderful story that reminds us of what families are and what we wish they could be. Considering that Halloween is here; The Nix is one ghost that will haunt you long after you have finished this remarkable novel.
MWgal More than 1 year ago
This book is going on my list of all-time favorites! How can such a young author possess such insight and wisdom? Well done! It is complex in a manner that is compelling and brilliant.Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is so very expensive for me. How do you by it?