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The Nix
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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1590 comments space to discuss The Nix by Nathan Hill


message 2: by jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

jo | 429 comments how do we handle the spoiler situation for peeps who want to jump in but haven't finished the books?


message 3: by Amy (last edited Feb 05, 2017 08:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1590 comments I would say if people are able, use the < spoiler > html and if they don't know how to do that, provide a warning (SPOILER!) in the text. I can see how discussing this book in particular with its piecemeal timeframes could be especially spoiler-y!


message 4: by Amy (last edited Feb 05, 2017 08:39PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1590 comments If I had stopped this a quarter-in (as I might have had it not been the only audiobook currently available from my library) I would have missed a great story. I didn't really get much from Samuel's sad-sack professor life, nor his childhood... things really started going for me when we finally start to learn about Fay. Actually, even the pieces about Fay before she leaves Samuel were much more interesting to me than Samuel himself. The 1960's riots and especially the commentary about politicians using television media to create their narrative were especially fascinating and uber relevant to today. (e.g. repeatedly and only showing 'hippies' in unrest, violence & civil disobedience leading the vast majority of the country to make 'other' assumptions and judgments about all the members of the civil rights movements of the time because they have no other point of reference... hello BLM movement coverage)


message 5: by jo (last edited Feb 06, 2017 12:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

jo | 429 comments Amy wrote: "If I had stopped this a quarter-in (as I might have had it not been the only audiobook currently available from my library) I would have missed a great story. I didn't really get much from Samuel's..."

i am completely with amy. entirely. wholly. this book builds and builds and then takes off like a slow, gigantic, soaring jet plane.


Beth Dean (readremark) | 29 comments Agreed. My opinion of Faye in particular changed drastically through the telling of her backstory.


message 7: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1037 comments jo wrote: "i am completely with amy. entirely. wholly. this book builds and builds and then takes off like a slow, gigantic, soaring jet plane. ..."

A big fat yes to everything that been said here, and especially this.


message 8: by Ruthiella (last edited Feb 07, 2017 04:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruthiella | 329 comments I liked The Nix a lot but I found it to be overly long when reading it. However, I think my impatience might have had something to do with the fact that a lot of the satire was just too close for comfort. I found it funny but also depressing that nothing seems to have changed politically in 50 years.


message 9: by jo (last edited Feb 07, 2017 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

jo | 429 comments Ruthiella wrote: "I liked The Nix a lot but I found it to be overly long when reading it. However, I think my impatience might have had something to do with the fact that a lot of the satire was just too close for c..."

hmmm. i never thought of it as political satire. do you refer specifically to the demonstrations?


Ruthiella | 329 comments Yes, the sections set in 1968 particularly. But also the idea that political movements are now just a fashion which plays into consumerism...wear the right t-shirt or hat and you have done your part. And the arc with Sebastian and ultimately what he ended up doing.


message 11: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1590 comments Agh! Sebastian is awful! Can you imagine being Fay (view spoiler) !? I would want to murder the guy! (Hah Guy!)


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 444 comments I thought that The Nix was a book in desperate need of an editor. Parts were brilliant and parts felt like he'd written something that was clever but didn't fit, but the author was too taken with them to remove them. The Laura Potsdam parts took me out of the narrative and into a different (and lesser) book. I was skeeved out by the power dynamic and the sheer unkindness of the portrayal in a novel that gave all the other characters life and empathy - even Charlie Brown was sympathetically written. I would have engaged with the book and rated it higher had he omitted these passages.

I was also not pleased with the way the author gave the men women as rewards.


message 13: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Tittle | 49 comments I'm glad to read Amy's commentary because I am at that point where I don't understand all the hype. But Sam is just getting to know Fay and I'm hoping that she doesn't emerge as a trope (skinny, short-haired, graying radical woman with even more radical past). And I'm hoping that I start to care about Sam--honestly am I supposed to feel sorry for this Nintendo (or whatever) playing failed writer turned professor at a mid-level college who doesn't know how to handle an obnoxious student? Sorry, just feeling peeved but I'm only to the Sam-meets-Fay part.


Gayla Bassham (sophronisba) | 156 comments I liked this quite a bit, actually, but I think it would have been a better novel if it had been cut by a third. (I didn't even dislike Pwnage but he didn't need to be in this book. I agree with Alison that we didn't need Laura Potsdam.)

But there are some really impeccably rendered scenes -- I think the nursing home setpiece is a standout -- and I think Hill has a lot of talent. He just needs more control over his material, and the willpower to avoid cutesiness (don't name a character Charlie Brown, for crying out loud).


message 15: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth Dean (readremark) | 29 comments You hit the nail on the head, Gayla. Except for the Laura character. :) She was absurd, but it was funny.


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 25, 2017 05:04PM) (new)

Gayla wrote: "I liked this quite a bit, actually, but I think it would have been a better novel if it had been cut by a third. (I didn't even dislike Pwnage but he didn't need to be in this book. I agree with Al..."

I am about halfway through The Nix, and loving it so far. I have the book, but after reading several great reviews of the Audible version, I decided to do both. The narrator is fantastic! Though I am enjoying the book, I am certain that I will agree with you about the length, Gayla. I can't recall the last long book I read that I didn't think would have been improved by a serious edit. However, I disagree about Laura and Pwnage. They are both ridiculous, but they add humor and pathos. Every scene with Laura makes me laugh out loud.

EDIT: I just finished the book. I have changed my mind about Laura and Pwnage. They entertained me, but their story lines were unnecessary and detracted from the powerful family story that was the heart of the novel. There were many irrelevant detours in this novel. It seemed to me as if Hill thought this was the only book he would ever get published, so he included every story idea he ever had. It could easily be broken into three novels, and be better for it.


Mainon (bravenewbooks) | 91 comments Tina wrote: "Gayla wrote: "I liked this quite a bit, actually, but I think it would have been a better novel if it had been cut by a third. (I didn't even dislike Pwnage but he didn't need to be in this book. I..."

Tina, I agree with you. I really enjoyed the Pwnage and Laura characters while I was reading them, but looking back on the novel, it's like they belonged to a different book. I think Hill had some sort of modern-technology-satire novel (Laura with her feelings app, Pwnage with his WoW view of the world) in him, and it ended up shoehorned into this book that really wanted to be something far more serious.

Here's a question: since we agree that the meat of the novel is not satire, how would you describe what it is "about"?


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Mainon wrote: "Here's a question: since we agree that the meat of the novel is not satire, how would you describe what it is "about"? "

That should be an easy question to answer, but it isn't. I reread the book description to seek help, but that was useless. My equally useless attempt at a description: The Nix is a book about choices, consequences, regrets, and second chances.


message 19: by Jen (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jen | 125 comments I'm listening to the audio and I think I'm about halfway through. A lot of the comments here about distracting and (possibly) unnecessary storylines are ringing true for me, but I'll reserve judgement until the end. I'm definitely engaged enough by the story to see it through, and a few parts I've found to be laugh out loud funny.


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments I think Hill was determined to skewer every character and show how incisive and culturally literate he is.

Basically everyone is a trope to the max - failed writer, aging hippie, slimy agent/promoter, entitled student, musical genius, abused boy, distant father, basement-dwelling gamer, simple small-town boy, power-abusing cop/judge. It's like Hill took every character's noun and paired it with the most expected adjective then pushed it. Could you imagine a more Ginsburgian Ginsburg?

I think he painted them all into their corners with lots of color - no one was a caricature, but no one had nuance, either.


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The Nix (other topics)

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