REVIEW | The Nix

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The Nix Audiobook Review

Nathan Hill

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It’s not since Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A Little Life’ have I enjoyed so much just being in a book. Despite the 600+ page count on both giants, I had the same feeling with The Nix as I had this time last year with A Little Life – I never wanted it to end.

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I switched between the audiobook and physical book throughout reading, but at some point my poor little arms were tired of holding up that brick of a book up to my face. I’m really glad I stuck with my choice as Ari Flakos did an absolutely fantastic job of narrating, and brought some life into characters which weren’t really my favourite when I read them myself.

The Nix is like a daydream. The cover gives up some 60s American cultural revolution vibes when that’s not really what it’s about at all. Though there is a defined plot, The Nix is more about the people. It’s really about the people. There are entire chapters that go off into a tangent about seemingly insignificant side characters and you end up knowing them just as well (if not better) than the main character himself. While that may sound like filler material, these parts were the most enjoyable to me. It’s kind of like meeting someone for the first time and you can tell that they’re absolutely insane but they insist that they know what they’re doing. You can so plainly see that their intentions are pure, but they’re on a downwards spiral into complete failure. It’s sad, but it’s pretty entertaining.
A character I found particularly endearing was a video-game addicted, illness and obesity ridden, ‘comic-book-guy’-esque guy, aptly named ‘Pwnage’ (he had a real name but I can’t remember what it was because he actually called himself Pwnage). Flakos did an exceptional job portraying Pwnage with a dude-bro accent that was so fitting to his character. Hill did such a fantastic job of relaying what it feels like to be addicted to a video game that I’m certain that he must have played World of Warcraft or some other MMORPG at some stage of his life.

“His character class is thief, which means his special abilities include pickpocketing and bomb making and invisibility, and one of his favourite things is to sneak into orc-heavy territory and plant dynamite on the road for orcs to ride over and get killed by. Then he loots the bodies of his enemies and collects their weapons and money and clothes and leaves them naked and defeated and dead.
Why this has become so compelling he isn’t really sure.”

Hill writes his characters so realistically flawed that I often saw my own mistakes in them. At some point I made a vow, that as much as I loved Pwnage I needed to slow down on my Final Fantasy 14 mileage since I’m sitting on nearly 800 hours…

Plot-wise, there isn’t much. There’s a definite strong pull towards the story in the first hundred or so pages of the book that are enough to get you hooked, but towards the end there are a lot of loose ends with a pretty mediocre and seemingly rushed ending. A lot of things work out one way or another, sometimes as the result of some random twist, and it doesn’t feel deserved and doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the book.

Despite this, and as someone who is primarily down for a compelling plot, I freaking adored The Nix. I’m almost certainly in a slump because of it and often find myself wanting to listen to my favourite parts of it again. If you’re looking for something funny with a bunch of life satire, you really, really should pick this one up.

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