An ambitious first novel, The Nix embraces two generations, several eccentric characters and a plot that rolls back and forth in time. And he does it beautifully. Samuel, the main character, so flawed and yet so likable deals with his current life as a blocked writer teaching at a small college, but the main story is his past and the two women, one being his mother, who abandoned him at an early age. Hill writes with such compassion about these people, I found myself liking all of them, and his use of irony, humor and an in depth study of the fallacy of the American Dream is done with a skilled voice. It is one of the best books I've read this year.
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.