Episode 27: The Nix by Nathan Hill
It's Samuel Andresen-Anderson's mother who tells him the Norwegian folk tale of the Nix, a water spirit who lures children to their death. When he is eleven, she leaves him. For twenty-three years, there is silence. Then Samuel - now a college professor and failed novelist who too often retreats into on-line role-playing games - gets a call from a lawyer. His mother has been arrested for assaulting a Republican presidential hopeful, and she wants him to write a letter to the judge attesting to her character. The Nix moves back and forth in time and place, from 1968 to 1988 to 2011, from Chicago to New York to Norway. It shuttles from the Democratic National Convention to the Occupy Wall Street movement to the world of "gamers" to the war in Iraq, blending the personal with the political in ways both prophetic and profound. Ultimately this is a book about all the ways the things we most desire can be our doom, and why we choose to pursue them anyway.
Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Nathan Hill about misadventures in Chicago traffic, writing as a source of joy, and what he left out between the 1200-page first draft and the final 620 pages.
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