Weather: A novel

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Lizzie works in a university library and answers mail for a former mentor, whose work inspires questions from people who are “either crazy or depressed.” At home, Lizzie navigates the social trickiness of Brooklyn parenting, strategically avoiding other mothers, and trying to quell lingering regret over having only one child. Lizzie’s brother Henry, with whom she is very close, is a new father and determined to stay sober and stable. As the reverberations from the 2016 election upend every aspect of society, Lizzie becomes fascinated and then obsessed with doomsday preppers and their safety- and survival-conscious worldview. There is little about her life that she can predict or control, and she isn’t at peace with any of it—despite her half-hearted attempts at meditation.

These and other slices of Lizzie’s life build in short bursts of observation and reflection. Though Offill does create a resonant portrait of this not-so-young woman facing family strife, the true heart of this novel is the buzzing, constant, shimmering unease that unsettles even the most ordinary social interactions. The world is almost literally on fire; the effects of climate change will crash upon our children’s heads; maybe the preppers have the right idea after all. The question Offill demurs from answering is whether anywhere is truly safe.

Reviewed By:

Author Jenny Offill
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2020-02-11
ISBN 9780385351102 Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Popular Fiction


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