The Nix

nix cover imageThe Nix

by Nathan Hill
General Fiction
Knopf
Hardcover, 640 pages
$27.95

Described by the New York Times as the “love child of Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace,” and by a reviewer for NPR as “a vicious, sprawling satire with a very human heart,” the sheer scope, power and human and relational insight of The Nix, Nathan Hill’s stunning debut novel, defies our ability to do it justice in this brief paragraph. The backdrop includes Norway in the 1940’s; a boomer’s coming of age in the 1950’s and her inadvertent and ultimately life-changing entanglement in the 1968 Chicago protests; and contemporary American life with its menu of interesting characters illustrating many of our most challenging social issues. It is in one light a sweeping media and political satire, in another a heart-wrenching mother-son psychodrama. And yet it is so much more. Hill demonstrates through his deftly woven narrative how pivotal shifts in our lives result most often not from any calamitous act or decision, but rather from the collective impacts of so many seemingly minor decision-points along the way. We all know what it’s like to wake up one day and wonder how we got to where we are in life. In The Nix, Hill brilliantly shares one perspective on how this can happen. Well worth the read!