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LoveReading View on NICK

Who was Nick Carraway before he stepped into the world of The Great Gatsby? Michael Farris Smith sets out to explore these questions in Nick, a darkly absorbing, brilliantly accomplished literary undertaking provoked by the author’s complex relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

With themes of isolation and dislocated identity at its heart, this masterful novel opens in Paris when Nick leaves his lover to return to the horrors of war, ever conscious of death. Imagining his own demise, he wonders, “Who would be there to mourn?... Did anyone truly love him and did he love anyone?” Nick is also constantly consumed by an impulse to escape, juxtaposed with wondering what it is “know your place in the world”. Unable to find his lover when the war is over, and unable to bring himself to return to the family home, he transports himself to Frenchtown, New Orleans, with its drinking dens, whorehouses and vicious vendettas. The world over seems to be filled with folk floundering, people desperate to escape or obliterate their tattered lives, and time and time again Nick’s life entwines with fellow broken, lost souls. This curious magnetism is pertinently expressed by sick bartender Judah when he says, “if there’s one thing the lost are able to recognise it is the others who are just as wounded and wandering.”

Ending on a radiant dawn epiphany scene, with Nick on the verge of moving East, this left me longing to re-visit The Great Gatsby, and keen to read the rest of Farris Smith’s novels.

Joanne Owen

NICK Synopsis

Critically acclaimed novelist Michael Farris Smith pulls Nick Carraway out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this exhilarating imagination of his life before The Great Gatsby.

Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s world, he was at the centre of a very different story – one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I.

Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed first-hand, Nick delays his return home, hoping to escape the questions he cannot answer about the horrors of war. Instead, he embarks on a transcontinental redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance – doomed from the very beginning – to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavour of debauchery and violence.

An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know only from the periphery. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to transfix even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.

Win a Signed Copy of NICK plus Extra Gatsby Goodies from No Exit Press and Well Read.

Win a Signed Copy of NICK plus Extra Gatsby Goodies from No Exit Press and Well Read.

Closing date: 25/03/2021

To celebrate the publication of No Exit Press' lead 2021 fiction title, NICK by Michael Farris Smith, No Exit has teamed up with the literary gift brand Well Read to offer one lucky LoveReading subscriber the chance to win some Gatsby goodies, along with a SIGNED first edition copy of NICK. NICK is a moving prequel to The Great Gatsby, in which narrator Nick Carraway steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight - Well Read is a celebration of literature and reading. Their products allow their customers to express themselves through their favourite books. They create light, practical and desirable accessories, that will endure changing fashion trends.  You can be in with a chance of winning some incredible Gatsby themed accessories from Well Read - a beautiful 'Gatsby lady' coin purse and pouch purse clutch - along with a SIGNED copy of NICK plus No Exit's new edition of The Great Gatsby, which includes an introduction by Michael Farris Smith. This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The draw closes on 25th March 2021. Please ensure that the details you use to enter the competition will be correct at the time the competition ends. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780857304544
Publication date: 25/02/2021
Publisher: No Exit Press
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780857304544
Publication date: 25th February 2021
Author: Michael Farris Smith
Publisher: No Exit Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Star Books,
Collections: 2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon,
Categories: Historical fiction,

About Michael Farris Smith

Michael Farris Smith is the award-winning author of Rivers and The Hands of Strangers. Rivers was named in numerous Best Books of the Year lists, and garnered the 2014 Mississippi Author Award for Fiction. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his essays have appeared in The New York Times, Catfish Alley, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.   Author photo © Chris Jenkins

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