The Nix by Nathan Hill tells the story of Samuel Andresen-Anderson, a writer and college professor whose writing success was much more hype than actual success, and his journey to discover the complex past his mother Faye has always kept hidden. When video footage of Faye throwing a rock at a politician goes viral, Samuel reunites with her for the first time since he was a child in order to get information for a tell-all book.
I knew from the first few chapters that I was going to LOVE this book, and I was right. Not only did I find the plot interesting and unique, but I also thought that Nathan Hill’s narrative technique was brilliant. The Nix moves around in time and switches the focus of the story among many different characters, some of whom do not initially seem to be valuable to the story; however, by the end of the book, I found myself shaking my head in amazement at the brilliant way that Hill wove together so many different stories in a way that each and every one contributed to the ending.
Those stories include those of Samuel, his mother Faye, a superficial college student, a gaming addict, a Presidential candidate, Walter Cronkite, and even Allen Ginsburg, among others. Although some might not appreciate Hill’s unique style, I found that all the stories were valuable in order to truly understand the emotional essences of both 1968 and 2011. I loved that the book was so smartly satirized both our current culture and that of the late 60s and found myself chuckling many times at the humorous way Hill portrayed his characters; however, I also found the book to have many profound moments and thoughtful insights about life, family, and how we let our pasts affect our present lives.
The Nix lived up to the hype, for sure.