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The Nix

by Nathan Hill

This novel within a novel is a masterclass of storytelling with its kaleidoscopic themes: coming of age tragicomedy, academic and political satire, and state of the nation commentary, to name but a few. The multiple story-lines and timelines, from the Chicago protests of 1968 to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations of 2011 are seamlessly woven together, echoing the ‘choose your own adventure’ tales of the narrator’s boyhood. Dazzling!

Extract

The next problem was plot. He knew Choose Your Own Adventure books forked this way and that, then forked again, and then again, and that each story was in the end a unified narrative whole – many stories in one. But his first draft of The Castle of No Return resembled more of a straight line with six short dead ends, with choices that would cause little debate or consternation: Do you want to go left or do you want to go right? (If you go left you die!)
He hoped his classmates would forgive these shortcomings – the plagiarized setting, the lack of multiple cohesive plots – if he could find really interesting and creative and entertaining ways to die. Which he did. Samuel had a talent, it turned out, for killing his characters interestingly.



Parallels

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
 

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