Nicotine (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Surgeon General's warning: This book is so good, you'll be hooked! Just kidding. It's an addictive read! Forgive me. Nell Zink is back with another charmingly idiosyncratic novel (and, in my opinion, her best) following last year's Mislaid and The Wallcreepers before that. It's calledNicotine. It's a story about family as well as the strange people in our lives who become like family. It's quick-witted, unafraid of modernity, and it comes highly recommended. The fact that each of her books have been written in only three weeks time is barely a portion of what makes Zink such an interesting voice in contemporary literature.

— From Eric

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


The "wonderfully talented" (Dwight Garner, New York Times) author of Mislaid returns with a "heady, witty" (Booklist) novel 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 occupied by a group of friendly and charming anarchist squatters 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 she's never felt before. Penny 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: 9780062441713
ISBN-10: 006244171X
Publisher: Ecco Press
Publication Date: June 20th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English