The Nix (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The nix (or nisse) are Norwegian house spirits that usually live in your basement. For the most part they ignore you and you ignore them, but if you do something to tick them off: say spill water on their feet or betray their trust in some seemingly insignificant way, they will haunt you and your descendants for generations. Minor actions lead to major repercussions. Small decisions made on the spur of the moment double back to torment us years later, and become the overwhelming forces that shape the quality of our life. 


Such is the spirit, and the choices, that come to haunt three generations of Andressons: Faye, her son Samuel (who she abandoned when he was eleven) and her father Frank, who made a poor choice as a young man in Norway in 1940, and has been paying the price ever since. This family, as unlikable as they are, as pathetically inept at life as they are, will keep you entranced as the 600+ pages fly by, and you resist the temptation to skip ahead. You will devour this book.

— Conrad Silverberg

September 2016 Indie Next List

“Hill's debut is remarkable because it does both the little things and the big things right. It is an intimate novel of identity and loss, the story of a boy abandoned and the man now trying to recover. It also paints a vivid portrait of America and its politics from the 1960s to the present. The Nix overflows with unforgettable characters, but none more clearly rendered than Samuel Andersen-Anderson and his mother, Faye, both bewildered by life and struggling to repair the rift between them. From intimate whispers to American news cycles, this astounding novel of reclamation is guaranteed to sweep readers off their feet.”
— Luisa Smith (E), Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA


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
-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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101946619
ISBN-10: 110194661X
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Pages: 640
Language: English