5107pklsnal-_sx329_bo1204203200_I love Nell Zink’s novels and “Nicotine” is her latest wonder. Protagonist Penny is the daughter of a Jewish shaman and indigenous Columbian runaway. Trying to recover from her father’s death and failing to navigate incipient adult life, she finds herself, at 23, unemployed and getting involved with the activists she discovers squatting in her fathers abandoned Jersey City childhood home. The writing is clever and amusing and Zink’s plots are Franzen-esque — a bit all over the place, loose and messy, but brilliantly pertinent to contemporary issues and so much fun to watch unfold.

Nicole Charbonnet


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