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The Nirvana Blues (The New Mexico Trilogy #3)

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  375 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The seventies are over. All across America, the overgrown kids of the middle class are getting their acts together -- and getting older. The once-tight Chicano community of Chamisaville is long gone, and the Anglo power-brokers control almost everything. Joe Miniver - faithful husband, loving father, and all-around good guy - is about to sink roots. To buy the land he want ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 596 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Ballantine Books (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 15, 2009 Jason rated it did not like it
I thought the other 1-star ratings of this book were extreme until I slogged through this piece of shit. The writing is occasionally brilliant, but far too often it reads, as another reviewer put it, like Nichols got paid by the word. The protagonist has to be one of the more reprehensible, unlikable characters in fiction; an NYC-power-player-turned-Communist-garbage-man, he pities himself as he abandons his wife and children to chase after a handful of different women and he plumbs the depths o ...more
Brett Fernau
Sep 10, 2012 Brett Fernau rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Right up there as one of the worst books every written. The Milagro Beanfield War was a delightful read, funny, tragic, touching, well-written. Nirvana Blues is nothing like that. Whimsical and absurd are good qualities in a book, this one is just stupid. It insulted my intelligence from the first page.

My recommendation: Read The Milagro Beanfield War. Don't bother with this one. I don't trashcan very many books, perhaps two in my lifetime, but this one goes in the trash. The Milagro Beanfield W
We could call John Nichols’ “New Mexico Trilogy” “How the West Was Lost,” but the three books are about more than that as evidenced by the epilogue of Nirvana Blues, the final novel in the trilogy. (view spoiler) Whereas Magic Journey covers much of The Cold War, Nirvana Blues covers only a week in Joe Miniver’s life as he vacillates between holding his family together by buying 1.7 acres of the la ...more
Aug 01, 2016 BLRBrazil rated it did not like it
What a let down! Even though I haven't read the other two books in the series, I had some expectations, based on Milagro Beanfield reviews.
Early on there were bits I found amusing and I quickly sensed that the author was attempting to write his own variation on "Garp". The problem was that the character the author decided to pin all his hopes on was a total idiot lacking any serious compass bearing; what in the USA I believe is described as trailer trash (despite his NY yuppie background). He h
Sep 17, 2009 Samilja rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this weeks ago and really didn't have much ambition toward reviewing it. This is the 3rd of Nichols' loose New Mexico trilogy, the first of which was The Milagro Beanfield War , a book I really enjoyed. Admittedly, I didn't read this one in order - the 2nd book, The Magic Journey, wasn't around during my last visit to my local 2nd hand bookstore but this was and those are the breaks. Anyway - this book, like Milagro, delves into mystic realism, existentialism, and the like, in the conte ...more
Oct 23, 2014 Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unlike many here, I did not read this book as part of a trilogy, but on its own. Although I can see why others gave it bad ratings, there are several reasons that I feel it deserves to be read and appreciated. First, the writing style is delicious and delirious! Second, he manages to be (at once) starkly realistic and hallucinatory. The style does not quite derive from anyone else, as far as I know. There are many novels in which the characters create situations that spiral out of control, but J ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Gary rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
I gave up on this book after 77 pages. With hundreds more pages ago, I felt there were much better books to be read than to slog through this one. The narrative seemed rambling and the dialogue bloated, with characters who were eccentric but not engaging, and there seemed to point to any of it.

Too bad, because I enjoyed the rather lengthy prologue, which traced the recent history of Nichol's fictional town of Chamisaville--a thinly-disguised Taos, where Nichols resides. Having spent some time in
Bern J
Jan 07, 2013 Bern J rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With a thud-thus ended The New Mexico trilogy of John Nichols. I really liked the first book in the series-The Milagro Beanfield War (I gave it 5 stars).It was light & playful. The second book , The Magic Journey, was less so but I enjoyed it enough to give it 4 stars.
However, I thought this concluding book of the trilogy was a stinker.
It felt forced, labored & tedious,like Nichols was being paid by the word.It should have been edited down by 100 pages or so.
I was hoping that the story
Susan DeFreitas
For over-the-top humor, literary maximalism, and sheer heart, I return to John Nichols's New Mexico trilogy. Any writer who deals with environmental issues and the (still) wild politics of the Wild West cannot avoid doing so any more than they can avoid Ed Abbey, but I'm always struck by Nichols's great love for humans in general while brooking no BS. Like its predecessors, this book has a million literary warts (too many characters, overwrought plot), but you'll hardly even notice, because what ...more
Jul 14, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The final installment of the New Mexico Trilogy. If you've got a brain, the minute you finished the first chapter of The Milagro Beanfield War, you were destined to read this book. You might be disappointed, but not by the quality of the book. Much time passed between the end of The Magic Journey and The Nirvana Blues, and the setting is more modern. While TNB keeps the same framework as the first two books, the plot closely follows just one man as he bumbles, at times bravely, at times farcical ...more
Nov 09, 2012 Sharon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
A 250 page novel crammed into 500 pages. Overly silly, contrived . . . . just trys too hard. This is the third of his New Mexico trilogy beginning with The Milagro Beanfield Wars which happens to be one of my all-time favorite books - unfortunately this one was sadly disappointing. One day I'll read the middle book, but I'm not overly exited to do that anytime soon. Oh and p.s. I hated the ending, HATED it.
May 03, 2010 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The 2nd best of the "Milagro Beanfield War". Although the 2nd one, "The Magic Journey" wasn't so great, reading it did make this third installment all the better. A crazy, lilting attempt by one man to become real. Imagine "The Velveteen Rabbit" on LSD.

Kept My Attention - 5
Well-written - 5
Accessible - 5
Must Read - 3
Important - 1
Plus some stray points, just b/c this book deserves a 4 star rating.
Jun 23, 2008 Paul rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I must admit that I didn't get very far. It seemed like a bunch of characters got introduced very quickly, and every single one of them was quirky/goofy/whimsical/enchanted/flakey. It was like staring at a dinner composed of nothing but frosting blobs and sugary multicolored jimmies. No thanks...
Aug 04, 2008 Tcrane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The same brilliant writing as Milagro Beanfield War, but the story struck me as much darker, sadder. It lacks much of the hilarity of the first book, which balanced out the tragedy. Still, I will be reading the final of the trilogy sometime soon.
Jun 27, 2010 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I would have liked this book better if it was a logical conclusion to the New Mexico Trilogy. Instead, it was all over the place. Mostly just a long, awkward read.
May 11, 2008 Deena rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit
I hated this one. I'm not sure I even finished - and it was bitterly disappointing because I loved Milagro Beanfeild War so much.
Tim O'Neill
3rd book in the New Mexico trilogy featuring Joe Minerva with hissocialist philosophy and newly found sexual ambitions. Bit too long and drawn out but a good read.
Roger Burns
This book was very strange yet I liked how this dude managed to screw up his world so quickly. It was difficult to follow at times with the weird shit the author was trying to describe.
Mar 15, 2010 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loves Milagro Bean Feild Wars so much. I just figured this would be great too. What a depressing ordeal. I don't think I read another book for a year after that.
Pat rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2012
Denise Spranger
Denise Spranger rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2016
Michael rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2013
Christopher Sutch
Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2009
Claudia rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2011
Derek Markham
Derek Markham rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2010
Stanley rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2008
Judy rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2013
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2012
S rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2012
Ariadne rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2009
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John Nichols is the author of the New Mexico trilogy, a series about the complex relationship between history, race and ethnicity, and land and water rights in the fictional Chamisaville County, New Mexico. The trilogy consists of The Milagro Beanfield War (which was adapted into the film The Milagro Beanfield War directed by Robert Redford), The Magic Journey, and The Nirvana Blues.

Two of his oth
More about John Nichols...

Other Books in the Series

The New Mexico Trilogy (4 books)
  • The Milagro Beanfield War
  • The Magic Journey
  • The New Mexico Trilogy: The Milagro Beanfield War / The Magic Journey / The Nirvana Blues

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“Each person leaves a legacy--a single, small piece of herself, which makes richer each individual life and the collective life of humanity as a whole. But do not despair, for despair is a despicable and bourgeois affectation; we must not allow it. As for what happens next, well, as the Cuban poet Regino Pedroso once said, "como forjamos el hierro, forjaremos días nuevos": as we hammer out iron, we shall hammer out new days.” 7 likes
“Each person leaves a legacy -- a single, small piece of herself, which makes richer each individual life and the collective life of humanity as a whole.” 4 likes
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