Synopses & Reviews
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. Told with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to paralyze even the heartiest of Golden Age scribes, NICK reveals the man behind the narrator that has captivated readers for decades.
“It is a brave and ambitious project to write the backstory of Nick Carraway, the narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic, The Great Gatsby, but that is what Michael Farris Smith does in his sixth novel, Nick… Smith’s descriptions of warfare are cinematic, chilling and unforgettable… In style and theme, this Nick will remind readers of another Nick: the character Nick Adams of Ernest Hemingway’s best short stories.”
Alden Mudge, BookPage
“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
“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
About the Author
Michael Farris Smith is the author of Blackwood, The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. His novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists in Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous other outlets, and have been named Indie Next, 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 Lectricesin France, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Bitter Southerner, Garden & Gun, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.