Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Nix - Nathan Hill

The Nix
Title: The Nix
Author: Nathan Hill
Publication Date: 8/30/2016
Pages: 628
How I Found It: My book club is reading it. 
Date Completed: 7/4/17

Summary: A son whose mother left in his childhood. A mother whose life wasn't at all what it appeared to be. Decades later, a strange event involving a candidate for president throws them together again. 

What I Thought: I don't know that I ever would have picked this one up. My book club selected it as our long summer read and so here we are. 

Though I would not have chosen it myself, I did enjoy the book. It winds several stories together, ultimately being about family and the parent-child relationship. Hill has a nice writing style and he did a good job weaving together the stories. The interludes focused on secondary characters felt important and enjoyable, even though they added little to the main storyline. I like when even less prominent characters are given the time and space to be developed. Hill really did a good job fleshing out their motivations.

In a lot of ways, this book is all about motivations. What makes people do the things they do? Why do people stay? leave? act? ignore? What are the triggers that push us and, consequentially, shape our stories? 

I listened to the audiobook version of this novel and found that to be a great way to enjoy it. It made the long book seem more moderately sized and kept the story moving quickly. Often when long books have so many rabbit trails, I find myself questioning how in the heck the author is going to get things back on track. I never felt that way here. I always felt the detours were enhancing the main plot. 

There was a decent amount of mature content in the book. A few of those instances felt gratuitous, but, overall, Hill seemed to use it to develop his characters. The content of the book is, overall, quite sad. These characters are certainly not a cheery group. They have suffered and the ramifications of that suffering are evident in their actions. 

I really liked the political aspect of the book. I learned some about the Vietnam era and the protest movement then. I also liked some of the commentary on more the more modern political climate. It was an interesting twist to throw into the story and it felt organic. 

This was a good one. I'm glad I read it, although I don't feel compelled to go out and read tons more of this author's work. This was interesting and engaging and a good stand alone novel. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Probably not
If You Liked This, Try: A God in Ruins / The Language of Flowers / Gilead

A Reduced Review: A good standalone novel; each character is well developed and deeply flawed. 

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