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The Nix by Nathan Hill

book review

Here I am, again, sitting at my favorite coffee spot, nursing an obscenely large cappuccino while sinking into Nathan Hill’s ‘The Nix.’ It’s like riding a wild stallion across the rugged terrain of American history, layered with a topping of modern socio-political commentary. It’s a chewy, dark narrative, roasted to perfection, just like my coffee.

Plot Summary

Welcome to the circus of Hill’s imagination where the past and present collide. ‘The Nix’ is the story of a disgruntled, stalled-out English professor, Samuel Andresen-Anderson, who reconnects with his estranged mother, Faye, after she becomes a viral sensation for throwing rocks at a conservative presidential candidate. On the way, the narrative dances with ghosts of the 1968 Chicago riots, explores a hysterical college student’s obsessions with an online multiplayer game, and delves into the despairing corners of Samuel’s teenage angst.

Notable Quotes

“We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing—an actor, a writer—I am a person who does things—writes, acts. You are a doer. This is your dream, your life. Do something with it.”

My Review

There’s a weird kind of magic in ‘The Nix.’ Hill turns the standard mother-son dynamic on its head and stirs in a dash of dark comedy for good measure. It’s absurd. It’s poignant. It’s like a quirky indie film morphed into a hefty tome, and I’m a sucker for that.

However, let’s be honest. The plot is more tangled than my headphone wires after a good jog. I found myself laughing at the randomness of it all while simultaneously tearing my hair out. It’s an intricate puzzle, and boy, does Hill know how to hide those corner pieces.

One notable aspect of ‘The Nix’ is the way Hill plays with time. As Samuel delves into his mother’s past, we ricochet between the sixties and the present, bouncing off key moments in American history like a ping pong ball. It’s disorienting yet eerily fascinating. Kind of like that time I tried to keep up with a historian at a cocktail party.

Despite my mild confusion, ‘The Nix’ kept me hooked. Hill’s biting wit and knack for crafting vivid characters shine throughout the narrative. It’s been days since I finished the book, and I still can’t shake off the image of Faye flinging rocks with all her pent-up frustration.

Rating I’m giving ‘The Nix’ a 4 out of 5. It’s a wild ride through the rollercoaster of emotions, filled with twists and turns that will keep you turning the page.

Author Bio Nathan Hill, an American author of undeniable wit and talent, shook up the literary world with his debut novel, ‘The Nix.’ He is a deft juggler of narrative threads, intertwining humor, social commentary, and unabashed human flaws into a strikingly relatable tapestry. As of now, he’s probably holed up somewhere, concocting his next literary marvel.

FAQs/Book Club Questions

  1. What do you think Hill is saying about the relationship between past and present?
  2. How does the author use humor to handle serious themes?
  3. How does Samuel’s character evolve throughout the story?
  4. What does ‘The Nix’ represent in the novel?
  5. How does the narrative comment on modern-day political and cultural phenomena?

Where to buy Eager to immerse yourself in the chaotic charm of ‘The Nix’? Grab a copy here and let the adventure begin!

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