I think that the success of The Nix comes particularly from its thematic combination of individual struggles put in the context of bigger social issues, both contemporary and historical (though obviously history and contemporaneity are interdependent in such case). I mean, in a way this seems like a novel written exactly for the American society right now; we’ve got radical rightist politicians, crooked legal authorities, massive protests, disillusioned youth, market crisis, war, terrorism and so on. All the topics are well-researched and I highly appreciate that—but that wouldn’t be satisfactory without its other elements.
The story of Samuel, his mother and all the accompanying characters is so gripping and multidimensional that it’s not difficult to simply lost yourself in it. The narrative is constructed in such a way that the reader doesn’t lose their attention at any point and the themes (just to mention some: self-discovery, coming-of-age, forgiveness, broken families, addiction, relationships and sexuality etc.) are presented in a very sincere and emotionally profound way. It’s such a diverse mix of themes that almost anyone should find something relatable.
At moments it has even some controversies or explicitness but this is always used for painting a bigger picture. I mean, it seems like everything is so perfectly balanced, that it not only reads well, but it also gives the reader time to reflect upon it’s topics and draw conclusions.
There’s a lot I could write about that novel but I think I still need some time to digest it. I found it very relatable myself, especially in current point of my life; or maybe it’s just that any book of such potential will affect you one way or another?
The appraisal is absolutely justified, and I’ve got to agree that it has something David Foster Wallace-ish in it. Or New Sincerity-ish, in general. The ending in particular has this quality of not being entirely optimistic, but it has something morally uplifting. After such a strong debut I just cannot wait to see what Hill will serve us in the future.