The Nix

The Nix

Book - 2016
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"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.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781101946619
Characteristics: 625 pages ;,25 cm


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May 20, 2018

I just don't have the words to describe this book. What a story, what an experience. I would give this book 4.5 stars (it is not perfect) but I had to bump it to 5 because of the truly excellent audio production I listened to that brought these already fabulous characters to life. I guarantee I will read whatever this author puts out, but how in the world will he follow this up?

ecole2016 Jan 03, 2018

I really enjoyed The Nix. It was a bit long, but once I got into it, I didn't want it to end. If you're looking for a book about family relationships and secrets, I highly suggest you pick this one up.

Oct 24, 2017

Unfortunately I cannot say this is my favorite book nor one I'd recommend to anyone seeking a well told, concise story with unusual characters, intrigue, humor etc. I found it far too long due to the large amount of research done into the sixties, which while relevant in ways, was over used in my opinion. I also would have preferred the plot twist to surface much earlier than page 600+. I enjoy his writing to some degree, though I'm not a fan of this book even though I did manage to struggle through the whole thing. As the expression goes, 'each to their own'.

Oct 14, 2017

My favorite book I've found in recent memory. And I just stumbled upon it without any recommendation.

Sep 02, 2017

Another year, another over-hyped, over-praised, over-long novel by a white dude (Nothing against white dudes, they've just kinda dominated the literary scene since, well, forever.). Previous entries include "The Art of Fielding," (So boring.) "City on Fire" (So long.), and everything by Jonathan Franzen (So self-important.). Iowan native Nathan Hill's book is really a pretty simple mother and son story, but extended to an unreasonable length so that it seems more substantial than it is. The 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention is the key historical event. Oh, a nix is like some Scandinavian goblin or spirit of mediocre writing.

Sep 01, 2017

"Because one thing she's learned through all this is that if a new beginning is really new, it will feel like a crisis. Any real change should make you feel, at first, afraid. If you're not afraid of it, then it's not real change."

Okay, so I can't remember where I came across The Nix (most likely on Goodreads); but I am so glad that I did. It's quite a lengthy book but definitely a worthy read! Nathan Hill pulls this puzzling story together so well and makes the subject matter so deliciously interesting. The Nix isn't just some fly by night debut novel; but rather one of substance and intricate details that pulls you in if you give it the reading time it deserves.

Kudos to Nathan Hill on penning a great first novel!

HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

It's so important to me to love a narrator and I loved most of the various narrators in "The Nix." The only one that was less interesting and believable was the mother. That said, I loved the humor and inventiveness and even liked the almost-too-neat ending.

May 31, 2017

Only made to page 36 and returned to library. I just finished two very good suspense books and couldn't get past the "gaming" of the main character.
There are too many good books available, I didn't want to waste time (600 plus pages) on a book I couldn't get into.

May 07, 2017

My favorite book among those I've read thus far in 2017. The author very cleverly tied together the story lines and shifted between timeframes.

Mar 31, 2017

Omigosh, I couldn't put this book down. Just some really funny lines: "her shorts were the size of a coffee filter." I enjoyed it so much and actually messaged the author on Facebook. He wrote me back!

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ellensix Sep 20, 2016

She's decided that about eighty percent of what you believe about yourself when you're twenty turns out to be wrong.

ellensix Sep 20, 2016

In the months before the protest, it was Sebastian who had printed those outrageous stories in the Free Voice about spiking the city's water supply with LSD, about abducting delegates' wives about bombs going off at the amphitheater. That no such plans were ever actually considered was irrelevant. He had learned something important: What was printed became the truth.

ellensix Sep 20, 2016

This is what the nation had to look forward to for the next year. Twelve full months of stump speeches and gaffes and ads and attacks and stupidity, agonizing stupidity, bordering on immoral stupidity. It was as if ever four years all news everywhere just lost perspective. And then billions of dollars would be spent to achieve what was already inevitable—the whole election would come down to a handful of swing voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The electoral math pretty much ordained this.
Democracy! Huzzah!

ellensix Sep 20, 2016

There was an aspect of graffiti Samuel found romantic. Especially graffiti sprayed in dangerous locations. There was something romantic about a writer risking injury to put down words.

ellensix Sep 20, 2016

If you keep pestering the politician, you look like a pest, and America does not tune in to watch pests. It's a chilling thought, that politicians have learned to manipulate the television medium better than the television professionals themselves. When old Cronkite first realized this was happening he imagined the kinds of people who would become president in the future. And he shuddered with fear.

ellensix Sep 20, 2016

In the story of the blind men and the elephant, what's usually ignored is the fact that each man's description was correct. What Faye won't understand and may never understand is that there is not one true self hidden by many false ones. Rather, there is one true self hidden by many other true ones. Yes. She is the eek and shy and industrious student. Yes, she is the panicky and frightened child Yes, she is the bold and impulsive seductress. Yes, she is the wife, the mother. And many other things as well. Her belief that only one of these is true obscures the larger truth, which was ultimately the problem with the blind men and the elephant. It wasn't that they were blind—it's that they stopped too quickly, and so never knew there was a larger truth to grasp.

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