Nathan Hill’s brilliant debut takes the reader from the rural Midwest of the 1960s, to New York City during Occupy Wall Street; from Chicago in 1968, to wartime Norway: home of the mysterious Nix.
Meet Samuel: stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games. He hasn’t seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a divided America. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.
As Samuel begins to excavate his mother’s, and his country’s, history, he will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about her – a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she has kept hidden from the world.