Nicotine

Maybe women go for your dick because your mouth is full of tobacco I kinda wonder about a female author who grew up in rural Virginia now lives near Berlin Germany and writes sentences lik

"Maybe women go for your dick because your mouth is full of tobacco".....I kinda wonder about a female author who grew up in rural Virginia-- now lives near Berlin, Germany....and writes sentences like the above excerpt.This is my first experience reading Nell Zink. The New York Times review was given to me by a friend when I was gifted this hardcopy book. Much of their review I completely agree with. But my first thoughts about this book - was "why in the hell would I read this"? I don't smoke - ( I think the book cover is kinda cool) - but really??? "Nicotine"???Here's - ( a part) of what the New York Times wrote: I agree and couldn't say it better if I tried:"Nell Zink is a deadpan comedian, her sentences funny yet plump with existential dread. "Her new one is called "Nicotine", and like her previous books, it's a mess: anarchic in its plot machinations, scrambled in its themes, mostly shallow in its emotions. You want her novels to be so much finer than they are. They're like meals someone fussed over but forgot to put in the oven. I haven't read previous books - but agree that this book is a mess ---BUT---I ALSO agree with this next part of the New York Times:"The strange thing is that you're never tempted to put Ms. Zink's novels aside. They contain so much backspin and topspin that you're alert by the leaping motion". So... plot doesn't seem to be especially important in this novel. It's shallow - it's funny - it's sexy -and Nell Zink is talented in an odd way. So -- here is a little more about this 'story'. Yes... haha... there 'is' a story. Penny Baker is the most conventional member of her weird family. Their lifestyle was chewing coca. That's all they did.... munched it like goats... but that was just the men. Women cooked and cleaned between totemic clans. That's when Penny's mother blew out of there. When her mother, Amalia, met her dad, ( a Jewish shamanistic),he was working on building up his clinic for indigenous herbal therapies in Manaus, in Brazil on the Amazon. With her dad's jungle vine, people would trip their brains out - heals nothing -but would puke like there was no tomorrow. Basically he was jump starting people's immune system- called ayahuasca. He would purge people -much like chemo. Her dad's specialty was cancer patients. Penny's parents met in Cartagena. Her mother made it from the Kogi countryfrom the coast, and her dad found her mother taking care of pigs at the dump.Amalia was only 13 years old at the time. ( about the same age as Penny's brother Patrick). The father -much older - took Penny's mother in because she was homeless. Amalia then fell in love with her dad, and her dad made Amalia wait five years. ( which pissed her off)..... perhaps a little like Soon-Yi Previn. By the time Penny is born, ---(skipping ahead about 20 years), the family is living - hippie style - in a commune on the Hudson River. The year is present day 2016. When Penny's father, Norm, dies at age 85, (he died a slow death and it was Penny that was at his side daily), she is unemployed...and unmoored by his death...she decides to move into his childhood home in New Jersey and fix it up. To her surprise a group of friendly anarchist squatters are living in the home which they have named "Nicotine". ( united in defense of smokers rights). "People walk around fucked/up on illegal drugs, on prescription drugs, on anything they want--nobody cares. But smoke a cigarette, and you're on everybody's shit list". "You're a baby killer. Same baby who second on a nipple full of phthalates, eatingantibiotic chicken, breathing PCB's, playing in dirt made of tetraethyl lead and drinking straight vodka while it rides a fucking skateboard--when that baby dies at age 86 instead of 90, it's going to be because you lit a cigarette in a public park". OUCH! Point is the smokers are sick and tired of being ostracized for smoking. There 'are' characters who believe in second hand smoke as a hazard to ones health - but they are closet smokers. Penny doesn't have the heart to kick the smoking residence out of her dads house. She moves into a nearby residence.... and then becomes involved with the smoking community at the Nicotine house. The rest of her family - her mother and half brother want to evict the squatters. The way this story comes to and end-- a surprise --is very satisfying.The characters and dialogue are what kept me reading this book. Penny falls for Rob- the asexual man who lives in the house.....Matt her older half brother designs garbage trucks....Smoking jokes, sex, crass, and quirky....This is a social satire --which was actually more 'wacky-enjoyable' than I thought it was going to be! A viral Nicotine Author Nell Zink go inside Book From the much acclaimed author of Mislaid and The Wallcreeper, a fierce and audaciously funny novel of families both the ones we re born into and the ones we create a story of obsession, idealism, and ownership, centered around a young woman who inherits her bohemian late father s childhood home She wills her body to be equally wraithlike Not sodden, not heavy, not dead,From the much acclaimed author of Mislaid and The Wallcreeper, a fierce and audaciously funny novel of families both the ones we re born into and the ones we create a story of obsession, idealism, and ownership, centered around a young woman who inherits her bohemian late father s childhood home She wills her body to be equally wraithlike Not sodden, not heavy, not dead, but filled with crackling, electric life, like a stale Marlboro on fire Unemployed business major, Penny, has rebelled against her family her whole life by being the conventional one Her mother was a member of a South American tribe her father was a Jewish Shamanist with a psychedelic healing centre But everything changes when her father dies and Penny inherits his childhood home Left weightless and unmoored after being the only member of her family with time for her dying father, Penny then finds his property occupied by a group of squatters, united in defence of smokers rights and herself unexpectedly besotted with them, particularly Rob, the hot bicycle and tobacco activist.Totally addictive and dangerously good, Nicotine is a fiercely funny novel in which passion is politics and nonviolence is the opposite of surrender.. Born in California in 1964, Nell Zink was raised in rural Virginia, a setting she draws on in her second novel, Mislaid She attended Stuart Hall School and the College of William and Mary In 1993, while living in West Philadelphia, Zink founded a zine called Animal Review, which ran until 1997.Zink has worked as a secretary at Colgate Palmolive and as a technical writer in Tel Aviv She moved to Germany in May 2000, completing a PhD in Media Studies from the University of T bingen Zink has been married twice, to US citizen Benjamin Alexander Burck and to Israeli composer and poet Zohar Eitan.After 15 years writing fiction exclusively for a single pen pal, the Israeli postmodernist Avner Shats, Zink caught the attention of Jonathan Franzen The two writers began a correspondence.In early 2012, Zink sent Franzen her collected manuscripts Franzen tried unsuccessfully to interest publishers in her 1998 novel It was Franzen s agent who ultimately negotiated a six figure publishing deal for Zink s Mislaid, a novel she has described as agent bait.The Wallcreeper was published independently in the US in 2014 and named one of 100 Notable Books of 2014 by The New York Times Zink lives in Bad Belzig, Germany.. Good Books Nicotine It's not her gender that's underrepresented. It's her species. Like a dog at a party for birds, or a hip-hopper at a party for Pagan bisexuals.that quote sums up my reaction to this book in a nutshell - i'm a dog at this bird party, not understanding why everyone's have a good time. i don't necessarily need to relate to characters in order to enjoy a book; to see myself represented, but i do need them to interest me. and none of these characters interested me in the least; either as individuals, or when they are broken down into their affiliated groups: hippie healers/shamans with their psychotropic drugs and nudity, capitalistic children of those hippies, consumed with laying claim to things: money, people, real estate, the right to success, pompous millennial squatters with their causes and rigorous commitment to representing every niche group conceivable. i just didn't get this book. in a way, this reminded me a lot of Purity. there's the obvious similarity in the plot of a young millennial-y woman making her way in the world with her fairly aimless idealism, squatting with people who see themselves as effecting important social changes, drifting into different beds, and many instances of women who are otherwise self-assured and successful being drawn to douchebag men who treat them like shit. and like Purity, there were scenes that made me feel icky: grown man interrupted mid-coitus by a naked 12-year-old girl that leads to anger-salted "playful" nude wrestling, the removal of a young kogi girl from her poverty by a white man 40 years her senior who later marries her, the single-minded attempts to seduce a man claiming to be asexual that get into rape-y territory (view spoiler)[ and the fact that he's not actually asexual, just in poor health, is also kind of icky, in that "see, you can change your sexuality by making better decisions" way (hide spoiler)]. but while i didn't like Purity, i at least understood what it was trying to say as a book. with this one, i think i missed the point. i'm not even sure if this is supposed to be funny or in earnest or what. to me, all the characters were annoying, and seemed like caricatures inviting the readers' scorn, but maybe it's just me finding millennials exhausting.She has curly magenta hair and wears a forties-style bathing suit of plum-colored cotton gabardine with fishnet stockings and Chuck Taylors. She looks ageless and possibly about thirty-five. "My parents wanted me to finish high school and I was like fuck you. It's indoctrination. So I ran away. That's part of why I'm committed to indigenous peoples' right to self-determination. Nobody should have their way of life dictated to them.""I joined the Navy when I was seventeen," Rufus says. "That's when I started learning about oppression.""Cool," Penny says approvingly.to me, that's the epitome of a millennial garbage-mind - an adolescent "fuck you" philosophy that views education with suspicion but feels qualified to speak for others on what should be valued. a privileged subset of humanity rejecting their privilege to pay lip service to causes affecting the disenfranchised, who would probably really appreciate that education so casually tossed away. peter pan grown-ups dressing like teenagers. but maybe that's just me. the tone is slippery - i'm not sure if we are supposed to be rooting for any of these people at all. it's not sharp enough to be a biting satire of all of these different kinds of characters, but it isn't going out of its way to make them sympathetic, either. the tone and the plot are both … wispy. nothing really happens, and when it does, the causation is unformed: people fall in love/obsession with no basis for it, they come and go and leave town and start businesses, and it seems arbitrary and motiveless. which would be fine if it was just the millennial characters, who are kind of defined by their shallow chameleoning and youth and struggles with attention-spans, but it's not. everyone's fairly impulsive and the results are frequently neither tragic nor comic, they're just … flat. i'll probably be in the minority here with this, since nell zink is one of those authors all the cool kids like, but i just didn't have any reaction to this book at all, really. which is rare, indeed.

About Author

  1. Born in California in 1964, Nell Zink was raised in rural Virginia, a setting she draws on in her second novel, Mislaid She attended Stuart Hall School and the College of William and Mary In 1993, while living in West Philadelphia, Zink founded a zine called Animal Review, which ran until 1997.Zink has worked as a secretary at Colgate Palmolive and as a technical writer in Tel Aviv She moved to Germany in May 2000, completing a PhD in Media Studies from the University of T bingen Zink has been married twice, to US citizen Benjamin Alexander Burck and to Israeli composer and poet Zohar Eitan.After 15 years writing fiction exclusively for a single pen pal, the Israeli postmodernist Avner Shats, Zink caught the attention of Jonathan Franzen The two writers began a correspondence.In early 2012, Zink sent Franzen her collected manuscripts Franzen tried unsuccessfully to interest publishers in her 1998 novel It was Franzen s agent who ultimately negotiated a six figure publishing deal for Zink s Mislaid, a novel she has described as agent bait.The Wallcreeper was published independently in the US in 2014 and named one of 100 Notable Books of 2014 by The New York Times Zink lives in Bad Belzig, Germany.

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Nicotine Comment

  1. It s not her gender that s underrepresented It s her species Like a dog at a party for birds, or a hip hopper at a party for Pagan bisexualsat quote sums up my reaction to this book in a nutshell i m a dog at this bird party, not understanding why everyone s have a good time i don t necessarily need to relate to characters in order to enjoy a book to see myself represented, but i do need them to interest me and none of these characters interested me in the least either as individuals, or when th [...]


  2. Maybe women go for your dick because your mouth is full of tobacco I kinda wonder about a female author who grew up in rural Virginia now lives near Berlin, Germanyd writes sentences like the above excerpt.This is my first experience reading Nell Zink The New York Times review was given to me by a friend when I was gifted this hardcopy book Much of their review I completely agree with But my first thoughts about this book was why in the hell would I read this I don t smoke I think the book cover [...]


  3. Although I did not love Nicotine, reading some of the negative reviews it s received makes me feel instantly defensive, because I do think it s a much cleverer and better written book than its detractors are giving it credit for Set in a series of New Jersey squats, with a cast of anarchists, shamanic healers and assorted polyamorous fuck ups, Nicotine may well depend, for its impact on readers, on their predispositions towards millennials and the current trends of youth culture Zink s steer on [...]


  4. She wills her body to be equally wraithlike Not sodden, not heavy, not dead, but filled with crackling, electric life, like a stale Marlboro on fire Nell Zink s Nicotine is a social satire on a grand scale It invokes and satirizes the philosophies of shamanism, pragmatism, and anarchy It begins with Amalia at age 13 being adopted by Norm from a garbage heap in Cartagena, Columbia From there, the novel flash forwards to Amalia s daughter, Penny, at age 12 at her father s psychadelic healing cente [...]


  5. 3.5 starsWell that was odd This is a strange book with an eccentric cast of characters It starts out weird and just keeps getting weirder It was hard to related to but at the same time there was something about it that I really liked I was strangely drawn to these misfits in a way I can t quite put my finger on I read this well into the night because I was curious what was going to happen I often don t like the ending in books like this but I thought this one was satisfying and well done This is [...]


  6. I m not even sure where to start with this one It s definitely one of the weirder books I ve read lately, filled with a truly eccentric cast of characters.Penny is an aimless young college graduate coming to terms with her father s recent death Her family is what you would call non traditional, to put it lightly Her mother is a former member of a South American tribe and her much older father gained fame operating a psychedelic healing center near that same region Oh yeah, and her mother actuall [...]


  7. This is a book about finding order in chaos, accepting idiosyncrasies of individuals and making peace with your family both biological and fraternal.Penny is the strait laced,odd one out in her completely unorthodox, atypical family She has managed to dodge their eccentricities until her dad, a hippie healer read drug dealer who treats terminally ill older patient, dies.She becomes the sole heir to his childhood house which she soon realizes has been abandoned for long enough to be turned into a [...]


  8. While I was reading this book, I merely thought it was sloppily written and lazily edited My example was this shit A police car just pulled up, she said, looking up to see a police car pulling up I thought that was as bad as it got But when I got to the end, I realized it s really, really fucking stupid Stupid is actually the best it could be If the author is not stupid, then she s outstandingly cynical and cruel, and fucking with the segment of her audience that reads sappy romantic shit and th [...]


  9. I loved the beginning The story of Norm dying and Penny s grief had me hooked, I was so excited for this book Then the tone completely changed when she got to Nicotine I m going to be frank here and maybe I m just not trendy worldly hipstery enough to understand this book but quite honestly, I had no clue what the f the characters were talking about half the time I found this book to be very annoying A lot of reviews are saying people would ve enjoyed this better if they were younger I m 26 and [...]


  10. One time a creative writing grad student asked me to read an opening chapter to their book I read it and it was like this awful hipster wasteland full of ironic characters with stupid names and pure affectations and vapid existences I said Oh I thought it was good because these aren t real people.just ironic abstractions and your tone is delightfully mean What This is based on me and my friends Oh So THIS is the book I thought I was reading.


  11. I could say so many things, but instead I ll just say that this was the best novel I ve read all year, and that I d be truly shocked to read another one as good anytime soon.


  12. 3.5 stars.Super clever and pretty intelligent throughout I don t know that I really got what this book was trying to convey capitalism as potency Resistance as fear or avoidance but the dialogue was snappy and the writing was often sharp Probably the most unrealistic part for me was the idea that affinity for tobacco would ever be a sufficient banner under which a group could gather I know privileged people grieving their perceived marginalization is very much en vogue these days, but are we rea [...]


  13. Maybe actually 2.5 stars This novel is a bit quirky, which I typically like But there seems to be something lacking here I think the characters are difficult to connect with and the plot is a bit flat I don t need a dynamic plot, but I need the characters to go through of an emotional journey than these characters did I m glad I read this novel, but it s not one I d recommend That said, I m interested in checking out Zink s other books because I did enjoy her writing.


  14. Review to comeNotes loved the beginning, weird, brutal, honest sad portrayal of the devastating effects of a cruel disease on the sufferer and those around them Initially thought would be a 4 5 staren hit the main plot of the story and it just lost it for me Too weird, abstract and unbelievable characterisation for me Will still give other books a try because of the beginning of the novel.


  15. This is a fun, fast read More suited for 20 somethings than settled in folks, but it s cute if your definition of cute can include lots of graphic scenes and language Mine can I didn t think the ending was as satisfying as the BOTM judge seemed to think, but it wasn t a bad ending.


  16. The Wallcreeper was one of my favourite novels of 2016 I described Zink s distinctive prose style as clipped, ironic sincerity for want of a better term and enjoyed it very much Mislaid did not reach the same level of taut hilarity and Nicotine was even further towards pedestrian The Wallcreeper somehow managed to be sharp and memorable despite the ostensible central topic of marriage, whereas with Nicotine I fear Zink is becoming conventional Her writing remains engaging, and at no point did I [...]


  17. Well I was a bit conflicted with this one, and I needed to take a couple days to process my feeling about it I feel like I am the intended audience of this, being young and having squatted and taken part of the squat culture I feel like this book was definitely watered down from the real eccentrics that live in squats Our main character Penny comes from money, and isn t really an activist but gets a room at a house anyway She ends up working a bank while still squatting That is just a big sack o [...]


  18. I have heard it said I don t like smoking I just smoke because I m addicted to it That is how I felt reading Nicotine At times, I felt the story relied too much on variations of the same theme millenial behaviour and it got a bit tiring Still, I could not stop reading And every couple of pages I would giggle to myself Want my next Nell Zink fix Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.


  19. 3.5 stars This is the second book that I ve read by Nell Zink I think she is a strong writer, but I was ready to finish this story well before the final pages The book opens in a garbage dump in Cartagena, Columbia and quickly jumps forward to become an end of life hospice story for a short time before becoming something else and then something else again Unfortunately, I was least interested in the part of the story where the scenario expands to fill the rest of the pages It s also a little dep [...]


  20. When a book opens with mysticism in the jungle, followed by a slow institutionalized death, and then things get weird, well, that gets my attention I ve read a lot about Nell Zink, including her correspondence with a certain bestselling literary author, but NICOTINE is the first of her three books I ve read Her voice snuck up on me Funny and often flat, descriptive but deceptive, so that the world she built in my head is real and unreal simultaneously Her story veers towards satirically easy tar [...]


  21. Each of Nell Zink s works I ve read begin with me questioning why I m reading this piece of trash in the first place, but I consistently find myself won over by her novels final pages At points disturbing, touching, philosophical, and hilarious, Nicotine falls in line with Zink s previous ensemble cast d, truly offbeat novels As always, I m excited to read of her work Zink is a true freak.


  22. I would have given this five stars if the ending hadn t been so abrupt As someone who s been steepedIn the far left this election cycle, this rang so funny and true She manages to be both respectful and make fun of activism anarchists in today s world.


  23. Maybe there IS some sort of vast media conspiracy, because none of the liberal periodicals I read trashed this hopelessly out of touch and indulgent book Thanks no thanks, Slate, NYT, n the gang.


  24. I wanted to like this book the premise is interesting, and the muted, minimal style was executed fairly well even the present tense worked, which is typically enough to make me hate a book by the first page The characters, however, are completely insufferable not because they re horrible people although some of them are , but because of how they re written A lot of my time reading this book was spent wondering if the author s ever spoken to someone under the age of 35, and why she thought she co [...]


  25. I did not love Mislaid and I wasn t all that enthusiastic about reading Nicotine But Zink overcame my reservations almost immediately I think what I love best about this book is that it s about weirdos who are aware that they re weirdos but have no romantic ideas about weirdos Everyone here is odd and flawed and fully human even the sociopath maybe Because the characters are real, the social satire is fully formed and, to my mind, rather loving When the protagonist, Penny, fetches up in a squatt [...]


  26. Three stars because I don t know how I feel about this book If this story is supposed to be a metaphor for life itself tragic, horny, frustrating, funny, overly complicated, irritating, filled with too many conversations about nothing then it does an excellent job The ending is unsatisfying and blurry in terms of protagonists, and loose ends predominate There are far too many secrets, and their unveiling helps nothing Perhaps it is because I am too far from the communities they represent, but no [...]


  27. I truly have nothing good to say about this book I picked it up for a book club read, otherwise I would have put the book away Nicotine was a house of squatters and Penny was sent by her family to rid the house of them, but became friends with them instead The book is full of activism and disjointed speech as far as I m concerned and was a waste of money.


  28. Ugh, I tried to like this book I tried to drag it out I just couldn t keep forcing myself to suffer page after page Some people might like this book It just wasn t something that kept my interest at all.



  29. An easy breezy read but nothing substantial good set pieces and dialog but to what purpose I enjoyed it but it was merely entertaining after the Adam Johnson short stories i need a little


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