Alas, I have finally finished The Nix by Nathan Hill. If you follow along on Instagram or have even listened to my podcast, you know that I have been talking about this book all summer. What took me longer to read than expected ended up being the best literary treasure of my year.
Let me explain why.
This 732 page book written by a brand new author has all the makings of a great American novel, with the intricate storyline of a Murakami read. Also thrown in were hints of cliffhangers and page turners that left me craving more at the end of chapters.
This book was so wildly unexpected. I could not have guessed the scale of the story Nathan Hill tells about characters Samuel and his mother, about Chicago in the 1960s, about post 9/11’s America, about war, about girls in college, video game addiction, about protest movements, about sexual harassment, about revenge, love, abandonment, and family.
Which is why Nathan Hill as a writer is so unique. He has an intuitive and strong subjectivity when it comes to different forms of the human experience: from liberal radicals to conservative cops, from being a girl in college to being a man out in war. He is not just great at his social commentary with only one individual character – he succeeds across the board.
It is one hell of a book with a construction I would love to hear about in process. With about 20 books as referenced as research for the making of this novel, The Nix is not a surge of creative expression vomited onto pages. It is a calculated, well researched, perfectly thought out, patient in execution, and brilliantly realistic while also emotional novel.
When I recommend this book to others (which I have been doing a lot of lately), it is difficult for me to really get into the story line to hook them. This is because the story line is so intricate that watching it unfold while you read is the greatest pleasure of this book. In short, I can’t give out any spoilers. I need the reader to experience them for themselves.
So, grab this book and give it a read. It is guaranteed not to disappoint. Then, hurry on back. We will have a lot to discuss.
Thank you Nathan Hill for this literary destination. The Nix is truly a crafted gem.