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Nicotine (Hardcover)

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    Staff Reviews

    Death can bring family together like nothing else, and that's the underlying thread of Nell Zink's newest novel: extant and created families. Yet what ensues is by turns raucous, hilarious, occasionally sexy, occasionally nerve-wracking, and all takes place just over the Hudson: Jersey City. Penny rebelled against her Kogi mother and Abbie-Hoffman-cum-Rinpoche father by going to business school, but caring for him through his death draws her back in. Through mechanisms of inheritance, she finds herself in an anarchist squatter house called Nicotine - by rights, HER anarchist squatter house. Unlike the other houses in her new found activist collectives, the only thing that unites Nicotine is their insistence that smokers are the true second class citizens. When her varying families start to collide - that's where the fun begins. NICOTINE is a skewering, poignant, and accurate portrayal, not only of this decade, but of the weirdness of 2016.

    — From Ashanti

    November 2016 Indie Next List

    “Zink excels at feel-good novels that, far from being sappy, are incredibly smart and laugh-out-loud funny. When recent college graduate Penny Baker inherits her hippie father's childhood house, she expects to find an abandoned ruin. Instead, she finds a house renovated and inhabited by squatters and falls desperately in love with one of them, something that does not go over well with her family. This deceptively simple premise allows Zink to return to some of her favorite themes of family and identity, as well as love, activism, and materialism, through the lives of unforgettable characters and hilarious situations. This book is a riot!”
    — Pierre Camy (W), Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI


    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.

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780062441706
    ISBN-10: 0062441701
    Publisher: Ecco Press
    Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
    Pages: 304
    Language: English