The Nix (Hardback)Nathan Hill (author)
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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.
Meet Samuel: stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games.
He hasn't seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a divided America.
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.
As Samuel begins to excavate his mother's - and his country's - history, the story moves from the rural Midwest of the 1960s, to New York City during Occupy Wall Street, back to Chicago in 1968 and, finally, to wartime Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. Samuel will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about his mother - a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she has kept hidden from the world.
An absorbing and deft portrayal of a mother-son relationship, The Nix is a stunning debut we at Waterstones are tipping for great things in 2017.
'The best thing a reviewer can do when faced with a novel of this calibre and breadth is to urge you to read it for yourselves – especially if your taste is for deeply engaged and engaging contemporary American prose fiction of real quality and verve.' - Edward Docx, The Guardian
‘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
‘Hill has so much talent to burn that he can pull off just about any style, imagine himself into any person and convincingly portray any place or time. The Nix is hugely entertaining.’ - NY Times Book Review
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 640
Weight: 846 g
Dimensions: 240 x 160 x 43 mm
A superb debut novel . . . could well be the most ambitious novel of the year... It seems like Hill is a writer who can do pretty much what he wants. * Daily Telegraph *
Compulsive and crazily entertaining -- Anthony Quinn * Observer *
Impressive that a debutant, Nathan Hill, with his scintillating The Nix has given us a character who comes close to out-Trumping Trump . . . Just one of the many pleasures of this engaging story of a mother and son whose private travails become front-page news. -- New Year Highlights * Observer *
The best thing a reviewer can do when faced with a novel of this calibre and breadth is to urge you to read it for yourselves - especially if your taste is for deeply engaged and engaging contemporary American prose fiction of real quality and verve. -- Ed Docx * Guardian *
The best new writer of fiction in America. The best. -- John Irving
We're in the presence of a major new comic novelist . . . a brilliant, endearing writer . . . Readers . . . will be dazzled. * Washington Post *
I got a big kick out of Nathan Hill's impressive first novel, The Nix (Picador), out in the UK next year. Hill's zeitgeisty portrayals of video game addiction and customer-oriented university education are brilliant. -- Lionel Shriver, 'Books of the Year 2016' * Observer *
Hill has so much talent to burn that he can pull off 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 * New York Times Book Review *
There is an accidental topicality in Hill's debut, about an estranged mother and son whose fates hinge on two mirror-image political events - the Democratic Convention of 1968 and the Republican Convention of 2004. But beyond that hook lies a high-risk, high-reward playfulness with structure and tone: comic set pieces, digressions into myth, and formal larks that call to mind Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad. * New York Magazine *
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 . . . Nathan Hill? . . . He's gonna be famous. -- National Public Radio
Nathan Hill Is Compared to John Irving. Irving Compares Him to Dickens. * New York Times *
This is a book to get one excited not only about Hill and his future as a novelist, but also about the power of writing to blot out background-noise banality and vault us forward into the new and wondrous. * San Francisco Chronicle *
Hill skillfully blends humor and darkness, imagery and observation. He also excels at describing technology, addition, cultural milestones, and childhood ordeals. Cameos by [the famous] add heart and perspective to this rich, lively take on American social conflict, real and invented, over the last half-century. * Publishers' Weekly, starred and boxed review *
This guy has chops -- Jay McInerney
A great sprawling feast of a first novel . . . both darkly satirical and uproariously funny . . . Hill writes with an astonishingly sure hand for a young author . . . Let's just call him the real thing. * Newsday *
Dazzling . . . rich and multilayered . . . the debut of an important new writer, able to variously make readers laugh out loud while providing a melancholy, resonant tale that argues "there is no greater ache than this: guilt and regret in equal measure." * USA Today *
The Nix is a timely mass-media and political satire, a family saga and two bildungsromans rolled into one ? and, in each facet, Nathan Hill crafts a hilarious, observant, unputdownable tale. * Huffington Post *
By turns, wickedly funny, shockingly wise, touching and thought-provoking . . . a rich buffet of a novel. * Toronto Star *
A fantastic novel about love, betrayal, politics and pop culture - as good as the best Michael Chabon or Jonathan Franzen. * People *
A stunning debut . . . the first book I've read in two decades that earns the title Great American Novel. -- Liesl Schillinger, 'What's the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year?' * New York Times *
Not only dramatising America's great tussle between minority interests and Midwestern grievances, [The Nix] even features a rogue presidential candidate who talks about immigrants as though they are coyotes damaging crops . . . But it's the human drama of a relationship between a son and his mother (too busy protesting in the Sixties to bring him up) that will keep you hooked while you think. * GQ *
This self-assured, sprawling debut is about the relationship between a college professor and his mother. It's a dense, satirical piece of fiction which offers commentary on the American history and modern technology. This novel is more relevant than ever in these tech-crazed times of mass media and political turmoil. With J.J. Abrams adapting it for a miniseries starring none other than Meryl Streep, The Nix is definitely one of the highlights of 2017 * Wales Arts Review *
[A] rich, absorbing saga that [is] so complex and brilliant [it] will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. * Stylist *
“an all-around amazing read!”
I can honestly say this is one of the most funny, insightful, topical, poignant and culturally aware novels I've read in some time. It is completely original and interesting on a number of levels. I might not... More
“Best novel of 2017 in January? Unbelievably good.”
Thanks so much to Picador and NetGalley for making review copies of this book available to booksellers.
It seems possible I may have already, in January, read my favourite book of 2017. Time will tell, but it's... More
“Everything & More ”
Since reading this novel roughly one month ago, I have waited and waited and waited for words of staggering genius to come. However, nothing. Or rather, too much not nothing resulting in nothing. I have thought about... More
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