(photo credit: By Bea A Carson [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)
by Nathan Hill
3 words: wry, family, storytelling
So this happened…
After finishing this book, I drove around resolutely dissatisfied by three audiobooks I tried to begin. Nothing worked (I will never be satisfied) because The Nix had totally spoiled me with its splendor.
As the Dear Man’s dear nephew said, “Magnum opus. That is all.”
Except: here we’re not gonna let that be all. More words!
This book is one of those big stories you just fall into, and it carries you away. I kept feeling surprised by each new turn the narrative took, but it all worked.
The tone captured me right away. When describing the way the media responded to a middle-aged woman hurling pebbles at a politician, the wry sarcasm completely delighted me. When I’m smiling out loud during the first five minutes of an audiobook, that’s a good sign.
We start with Samuel Andresen-Andersen, then meet his pebble-throwing mother, his mother’s lawyer, his worst student, his literary agent, a gamer who lives in the video game where they both spend too much time, and people from his mother’s brief (accidental) foray into the 1968 protest movement.
And there are even characters from Iowa. What more can a person ask for?
With a nicely balanced blend of cynicism and hope, this story unfolds through flashbacks and interspersed storylines.
And just when I thought I had it figured out… it surprised me one last time.
Big, literary, entertaining, and immensely satisfying.
Give this book a whirl if you like… literary novels with a modern tone and sense of humor, complex family stories, narratives that interweave the past and the present, stories of 1960s counterculture, the past coming back to bite you
What book was so good it ruined other books for you?