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In an interview about The Nix, Nathan Hill said, "I stuffed it full of every idea I had. It became a repository of things in the world I was mad about, concerned and confused about." Luckily for me as a reader, he was mad, concerned, and confused about college professors and students they have to deal with, plagiarism, MMORPGs, politics, media, mother-son relationships, past deeds that haunt us, and choose-your-own adventure books. At 620 pages it's a big repository, and even though there were times I wished it had been edited down, there were more times that I wished the stories would go on and on. I started listening to The Nix as an audiobook, but know that the hardcover version weighs in at 620 pages because I bought it when I came to the embedded choose-your-own-adventure book. While "You Can Get The Girl!" is not strictly based upon the readers' choices, I loved this, as I have often longed for this format written for adults.
Reviewers that were not as enthralled with this book as I was seemed to think that Nathan Hill was trying to say something about America and how it has evolved/devolved since the sixties, and that may well have been his intention. Rather than look for a message, I simply enjoyed the multiple story lines, full of humor, sadness, satire, details, and thoughts that point out how funny, terrible, and ludicrous life can be (with all them often occurring simultaneously), like this one from Walter Cronkite's mind:
"It's a chilling thought, that politicians have learned to manipulate the television medium better than the television professionals themselves. When old Cronkite first realized this was happening he imagined the kinds of people who would become politicians in the future. And he shuddered with fear."
It's only September, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that The Nix is most likely the best book I'll read this year. Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller, and Ari Fliakos is the perfect narrator.
97 of 112 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Nathan Hill and/or Ari Fliakos?
When Audible proclaimed this book as the most popular of 2016, I went right for it. I really like the beginning with Samuel and Rachel dueling it out about a failing grade. But then characters entered the book, and had little scenarios with the author. Then characters came in and had scenarios with the other characters. I kept waiting for the book to pull together so that the circles of people coalesced into some, any, shared purpose. Instead the book turned into one continuous set of short stories, with random characters interacting, moving the small plot forward inch by agonizing inch.
I got 13 hours into it before calling it quits - which is a big commitment for a book I liked less and less as the chapters went on. Once again I used my criteria - "Do I care if most or any of the characters die on the next page?". Nope, after 13 hours they should have died a lot sooner.
What could Nathan Hill have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Edited it by quite a bit. Maybe a 300 page book would have told the story more succinctly, and more successfully. Did he have an editor?
Which character – as performed by Ari Fliakos – was your favorite?
Interestingly enough shallow Rachel. Her observation about life as it was given her, her struggles to live that life in a real world, and her doubts about which is true. Alright, I don't wish Rachel was dead, I would like to know what the author did for her.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Nix?
Scenes upon scenes upon scenes that did not move the plot forward or did not develop one of the many character's plight.
Any additional comments?
Better luck next time
35 of 41 people found this review helpful