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American Misadventure with Nathan Hill

Listen to American Misadventure with Nathan Hill

Critics have likened him to John Irving; Irving has likened him to Charles Dickens; and Dickens, though very much dead, might have appreciated the humour, heart and panoramic scope of his work. Nathan Hill is the American writer of the moment.

His debut novel, The Nixis a sprawling, postmodern social satire that skewers contemporary American politics, media and academia. In 2016, it made Hill a star; publication rights of the book have sold in 16 countries, amid some furious bidding wars. The book is remarkably of its time – featuring a viral video firestorm and a populist presidential candidate bearing more than a passing resemblance to one Donald Trump. The New York Times has described The Nix as a ‘supersize and audacious novel of American misadventure’.

Hill’s novel – at times surreal and dystopian – has arrived at an extraordinary moment in American political history. Listen to him in conversation with Louise Swinn, where he talks about the process of writing the book (in longhand, no less), and the surprising people and experiences that prompted its characters and settings.

Photo of Louise Swinn and Nathan Hill

Louise Swinn and Nathan Hill — Photo: Jon Tjhia

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