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Wellness by Nathan Hill
Literary fiction


by Nathan Hill

Quick take

Health fads and dysfunctional families and love potions, oh my! Break out your thinking cap for this novel of ideas.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Cerebral


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MarriageIssues

    Marriage issues


When Jack and Elizabeth meet as college students in the ‘90s, the two quickly join forces and hold on tight, each eager to claim a place in Chicago’s thriving underground art scene with an appreciative kindred spirit. Fast-forward twenty years to married life, and alongside the challenges of parenting, they encounter cults disguised as mindfulness support groups, polyamorous would-be suitors, Facebook wars, and something called Love Potion Number Nine.

For the first time, Jack and Elizabeth struggle to recognize each other, and the no-longer-youthful dreamers are forced to face their demons, from unfulfilled career ambitions to painful childhood memories of their own dysfunctional families. In the process, Jack and Elizabeth must undertake separate, personal excavations, or risk losing the best thing in their lives: each other.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Wellness.

Why I love it

I love a novel with big ideas but only if it remembers to bring plenty of emotion, too. So I was thrilled to find in Nathan Hill’s epic new novel, Wellness, plenty for both my head and heart to hold onto. On the surface it is simply the story of a struggling marriage. But as you delve further it expands rapidly like an accordion. With brio and insight, Hill exhilaratingly explores everything from the history of condensed milk to the class politics of speakeasies.

But let’s rewind for a minute.

This story begins classically: boy meets girl. Both aspire to carve out a place in Chicago’s underground art scene. As they strive to prove themselves and leave a mark, they hold fast to one another. Then all of a sudden the couple find themselves married with child and, to their surprise, unfamiliar to each other. As they fulfill parenthood’s demands and their dreams diverge, they’ve drifted out of each other’s orbit. In order to try and find a way back to each other, each is forced to confront history and things hiding in their hearts and minds.

Wellness puts the things we think we know and understand under a microscope. It made me think deeply about who and what I care about most and left me more appreciative for them. If you are looking for a novel with real things to say about “how we live now” that will stick with you long after the final page, read on!

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Member ratings (2,383)

  • Heather W.

    Chico, CA

    This is the most delightful, cleverly worded, brilliant detail-rich, carefully crafted plot I have read in some time. Many elements were painstakingly relatable. Who is this author? I’m so impressed!

  • Jeanie D.

    Jupiter, FL

    I was a little intimidated by the length of this book, but boy am I happy I accepted the challenge. A well-written, thought-provoking look into marriage and family relationships. I may just read again

  • Courtney D.

    Shingle Springs , CA

    I ended up really enjoying this book. It has depth and got me really thinking about marriage,sacrifices and the things we keep inside.The placebo stuff was absolutely awesome and really for me thinkin

  • Mark P.

    Stoughton, WI

    One of the best books of the year! Nathan has added a plot with a historical deep dive of family systems and a study of psychology that puts placebo in a new light. How our family systems steer...

  • Debra L.

    Apex, NC

    This poignant, smart, contemporary novel is about a modern marriage. It's the story of how this couple changes together and individually throughout their married life. This is an intelligent read.