The Nix: A novel (Hardcover)

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Samuel is eleven when his mother abruptly walks out of his life. Decades later she reappears just as suddenly in the form of a news media sensation: the notorious "Packer Attacker." She wants his help... but first, he must find answers to questions about his family that have plagued him his entire life.

Nathan Hill writes with humor and heart in this far-reaching saga that traces back to a small village in WWII Norway and on to the 1968 riots in Chicago, while also taking hilarious pokes at the absurdities of modern America, such as technology addiction, entitled youth, and the national media circus. You won't know whether to laugh or cry-- but either way you'll savor every minute of it!

— Sharon

Samuel is eleven when his mother abruptly walks out of his life. Decades later she reappears just as suddenly in the form of a news media sensation: the notorious "Packer Attacker." She wants his help... but first, he must find answers to questions about his family that have plagued him his entire life.

Nathan Hill writes with humor and heart in this far-reaching saga that traces back to a small village in WWII Norway and on to the 1968 riots in Chicago, while also taking hilarious pokes at the absurdities of modern America, such as technology addiction, entitled youth, and the national media circus. You won't know whether to laugh or cry-- but either way you'll savor every minute of it!

— Sharon

Rarely have I read a book which immersed me so convincingly in so many different people's lives. Part of the convincing-ness has to do with the details--often unlikely--which paint each scene. It begins with a seemingly-random attack on a political candidate and continues with an uninspired college professor who distracts himself by playing an immersive video game. The novel examines the tenuous connection between these two events. From there, the story opens up widely into an inter-generational saga that delves into particular periods of recent American history. I loved this book and I was sad to say goodbye when I finished the last page.

— Matt

September 2016 Indie Next List


“Hill's debut is remarkable because it does both the little things and the big things right. It is an intimate novel of identity and loss, the story of a boy abandoned and the man now trying to recover. It also paints a vivid portrait of America and its politics from the 1960s to the present. The Nix overflows with unforgettable characters, but none more clearly rendered than Samuel Andersen-Anderson and his mother, Faye, both bewildered by life and struggling to repair the rift between them. From intimate whispers to American news cycles, this astounding novel of reclamation is guaranteed to sweep readers off their feet.”
— Luisa Smith (E), Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Description


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.

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. 

Praise For…


“If any novel defied an elevator pitch in 2016, it was The Nix. Acid critique of millennial entitlement, videogame addiction, and clueless academia; tender meditation on childhood friendship, first loves, and maternal abandonment; handy tutorial on ’60s radicalism and Norwegian ghost mythology: Nathan Hill’s magnificently overstuffed debut contains multitudes, and then some. . . .  the story surges, ricocheting from sleepy ’80s suburbia and the 1968 DNC riots to WWII-era Norway, post-9/11 Iraq, and beyond. It’s not just that Hill is a brilliantly surreal social satirist in the gonzo mode of Don DeLillo or Thomas Pynchon (a male news anchor’s face is ‘smooth as cake fondant’; one doomed union is ‘like a spoon married to a garbage disposal’), it’s that he does it all with so much wit and style and heart.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly (Best Book of 2016)

“A fantastic novel about love, betrayal, politics and pop culture—as good as the best Michael Chabon or Jonathan Franzen.” —People
 
“It broke my heart, this book. Time after time. It made me laugh just as often. I loved it on the first page as powerfully as I did on the last.” —Jason Sheehan, NPR.org
 
“Funny, endlessly inventive. . . . [a] wild tragicomic tangle of [Hill’s] imagination.” —Entertainment Weekly (A-)

“Hill has so much talent to burn that he can pull of just about any style, imagine himself into any person and convincingly portray any place or time. The Nix is hugely entertaining and unfailingly smart, and the author seems incapable of writing a pedestrian sentence or spinning a boring story. . . . [A] supersize and audacious novel of American misadventure.” Teddy Wayne, The New York Times Book Review

“Irresistible. . . . A major new comic novelist . . . . Hill is a sharp social observer, hyper-alert to the absurdities of modern life. . . . his enormous book arrives as one of the stars of the fall season. . . . readers will find this novel. And they’ll be dazzled.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Hill is an uncommonly profound observer, illuminating much about the relationships between parents and children. . . . Nathan Hill is an important new writer, able to variously make readers laugh out loud while providing a melancholy, resonant tale.” —Eliot Schrefer, USA Today (4/4 Stars)

"[A] great sprawling feast of a first novel. . . . Hill writes with an astonishingly sure hand for a young author. . . . let's just call him the real thing." —Dan Cryer, Newsday
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101946619
ISBN-10: 110194661X
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Pages: 640
Language: English