Nicotine

Nicotine

3.05 (2,478 ratings by Goodreads)
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One of Huffington Post's 20 Fall 2016 Books You'll Need for Your Bookshelf

Featured in New York Magazine's Fall 2016 Preview

One of Slate's Best Books of 2016

An Entertainment Weekly Fall 2016 Must-Read

Featured in LitHub's 2016 Bookseller's Fall Preview

Featured in The Guardian Fall 2016 Books Preview: The Best American Writing

From the "wonderfully talented" (Dwight Garner, New York Times) author of Mislaid and The Wallcreeper comes a fierce and audaciously funny new novel, dazzling in its energy and ambition: a story of obsession, idealism, and ownership, centered around a young woman who inherits her bohemian father's childhood home.

Recent business school graduate Penny Baker has rebelled against her family her whole life-by being the conventional one. Her mother, Amalia, was a member of an Amazonian tribe called the Kogi; her much older father, Norm, long ago attained cult-like deity status among a certain group of aging hippies while operating a 'healing center' in New Jersey. And she's never felt particularly close to her much-older half-brothers from Norm's previous marriage-one wickedly charming and obscenely rich (but mostly just wicked), one a photographer on a distant tropical island.

But all that changes when her father dies, and Penny inherits his childhood home in New Jersey. She goes to investigate the property and finds it not overgrown and abandoned, but rather occupied by a group of friendly anarchist squatters whom she finds unexpectedly charming, and who have renamed the property Nicotine House. The residents of Nicotine House (defenders of smokers' rights) possess the type of passion and fervor Penny feels she's desperately lacking, and the other squatter houses in the neighborhood provide a sense of community Penny's never felt before, and she soon moves into a nearby residence, becoming enmeshed in the political fervor and commitment of her fellow squatters.

As the Baker family's lives begin to converge around the fate of the Nicotine House, Penny grows ever bolder and more desperate to protect it-and its residents-until a fateful night when a reckless confrontation between her old family and her new one changes everything.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 162 x 243 x 25mm | 454g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • United States
  • English
  • 0062441701
  • 9780062441706
  • 2,860,577

Back cover copy

From the "wonderfully talented" author of Mislaid and The Wallcreeper comes a fierce and audaciously funny new novel, dazzling in its energy and ambition: a story of obsession, idealism, and ownership, centered around a young woman who inherits her bohemian father's childhood home.

Recent college graduate Penny Baker has rebelled against her family her whole life--by being the conventional one. Her mother, Amalia, was a member of a South American tribe called the Kogi; her much older father, Norm, long ago attained cult-like deity status among a certain cohort of aging hippies while operating a psychedelic "healing center." And she's never felt particularly close to her two half-brothers from Norm's previous marriage--one wickedly charming and obscenely rich (but mostly just wicked), one a photographer on a distant tropical island.

Unemployed--and unmoored by her father's death--Penny decides to fix up her dad's childhood home in New Jersey. Instead, she finds it occupied by a group of friendly anarchist squatters who have renamed the property "Nicotine." The Nicotine residents (united in defense of smokers' rights) and the other squatters in the neighborhood provide a sense of community and purpose that Penny feels she's desperately lacking, and she soon moves into a nearby residence, becoming enmeshed in the political fervor of her fellow squatters.

But the rest of her family has other plans--her mother and older half-brother would prefer to evict the squatters and gentrify the neighborhood. As the Baker family's lives begin to converge around Nicotine, Penny grows ever bolder and more determined to protect it--and its residents, specifically Rob, the asexual man with whom she's fallen irredeemably in love.

Nell Zink exquisitely captures the clash between idealism and pragmatism, between the have-nots and the want-mores, in a riotous yet insightful novel that brilliantly encapsulates our time.
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Review Text

"Extraordinary... Get the book for its crackling prose and razor-sharp wit, but ready yourself for its blitzkrieg of startling imagery." Village Voice
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Review quote

"Extraordinary... Get the book for its crackling prose and razor-sharp wit, but ready yourself for its blitzkrieg of startling imagery."--Village Voice
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About Nell Zink

Nell Zink grew up in rural Virginia. She has worked at a variety of trades, including masonry and technical writing. In the early 1990s, she edited an indie rock fanzine. Her writing has also appeared in n+1. Her debut novel The Wallcreeper was published in 2014. She lives near Berlin, Germany.
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Rating details

2,478 ratings
3.05 out of 5 stars
5 8% (205)
4 26% (651)
3 36% (891)
2 21% (523)
1 8% (208)
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