Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Readers Live a Thousand Lives"

I remembered that great quote that Carole Reedy posted on Facebook as I finished reading The Nix.  This is a big, sprawling story a la Tom Wolfe (Craig's idea) or Jonathan Franzen, but it definitely has its own voice.

The Nix is a family saga while it looks around at America, then and now:  computer gaming, low-life academia, sexual abuse, police brutality, the Iraq war.  One of the best chapters takes place during the riots at the Democratic Convention.

The Nix is a mix of satire and sincerity.  It manages, amid all of its twists, to have a heart.

P.S.  May this is "Nix picking" but I don't think any book needs to be 600 pages.  Save some of those exquisitely worded riffs for another book or short story.


  1. I loved The Nix too. I especially liked his descriptions of Chicago in 1968 and the UIC campus architecture. I agree on the length. What's wrong with a 400-page book? But then he might have left out some of the narrative/descriptions I liked.

  2. Sometimes the scale of a work is part of its impact. I'm thinking of books like Infite Jest, Anna Karenina, or Middlemarch. Or symphonies like Maher's Second (80+ minutes). You struggle and get exhausted as I imagine the way the writer wanted you to.

    1. I agree totally, Gerald. A long book is like a Wagner opera.....needing time to build, climax and resolve. I don'5 understand the hesitancy to read a long book or see a long opera. I am mesmerized by them.