By: Michael Farris Smith
Publisher: Little Brown & Co.
Publication Date: 01/05/21
My Rating: 4 Stars Critically acclaimed novelist Michael Farris Smith pulls Nick Carraway out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this "masterful" look into his life before Gatsby (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of EMPIRE FALLS and CHANCES ARE…) Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby's periphery, he was at the center 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 firsthand, 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 flavor 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 but few have pondered deeply. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to paralyze even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.
"An evocative glimpse into life amidst World War I...with scenes on wartime battlefields and in New Orleans speakeasies creating more captivating backdrops throughout." ―Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living
“A dark and often gripping story that imagines the narrator of The Great Gatsby in the years before that book began…Smith is a talented writer known mainly for his gritty evocations of violence, struggle, and loss…The new Nick is a man fully realized, with a mind tormented by the war and by a first love that waned too fast to a fingernail moon of bitter memory…A compelling character study and a thoroughly unconventional prequel.” ―Kirkus
"Noir is as adaptable as a writer dares to make it, which Smith shows in this compelling prequel to The Great Gatsby." ―Bill Ott, Booklist
“Anybody who believes that the war is over when the enemy surrenders and the troops come home needs to read Michael Farris Smith’s masterful new novel NICK. Its stark, unvarnished truth will haunt you.” ―Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of EMPIRE FALLS and CHANCES ARE¿
"With precise yet lyrically striking prose, Michael Farris Smith weaves a tale of love, loss, the lasting trauma of war, that deeply inhabits the damaged psyches of an array of people. The title figure of Nick offers a soul for the ages, one that finally and deftly slips into the canon." ―Jeffrey Lent, author of the bestselling In the Fall and Before We Sleep
“Nick is, sentence by sentence, scene by scene, an atmospheric masterpiece of imagination and prose. With scenes that take your breath away and forget to give it back, Smith takes us on an immersive and redemptive journey that travels from the trenches of the Great War, to Paris, to New Orleans and beyond.” ―Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis
“Stylish, evocative, haunting and wholly original, Michael Farris Smith has paid tribute to a classic and made it his own. A remarkable achievement that should sit at the very top of everyone’s must-read list.” ―Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End
"Every once in a while an author comes along who's in love with art and the written language and image and literary experiment and the complexity of his characters and the great mysteries that lie just on the other side of the physical world, writers like William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx. You can add Michael Farris Smith's name to the list." ―James Lee Burke, New York Times bestselling author and two-time Edgar Award winner
About the Author
Michael Farris Smith is an award-winning writer whose novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have appeared with The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Garden & Gun, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters. Read More