A "darkly funny and urgent" (NPR) tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis.
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which...Read More
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practice her other calling: she is a fake shrink. For years she has tended to her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilized for the moment, but Lizzie has little chance to spend her new free time with husband and son before her old mentor, Sylvia Liller, makes a proposal. Sylvia has become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water, and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right-wingers worried about the decline of western civilization.
As Lizzie dives into this polarized world, she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you've seen the flames beyond its walls. When her brother becomes a father and Sylvia a recluse, Lizzie is forced to address the limits of her own experience--but still she tries to save everyone, using everything she's learned about empathy and despair, conscience and collusion, from her years of wandering the library stacks . . . And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in - funny, disturbing, and increasingly mad.
JENNY OFFILL is the author of the novels Last Things (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the L.A. Times First Book Award), and Dept. of Speculation, which was shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Pen Faulkner Award and the International Dublin Award. She lives in upstate New York and teaches at Syracuse University and in the low residency program at Queens University.
"Brilliant... Offill's writing is brisk and comic, and her book's format underlines her gifts. "Weather" is her most soulful book... [Her] humor is saving humor; it's as if she's splashing vinegar to deglaze a pan." - The New York Times
"Time flies by in this wry story of a family-librarian Lizzie, her classics buff husband, their son, and her brother, a recovering addict. Apocalypse (climate and otherwise) looms over the narrative, and yet it is funny and hopeful too." - Vanity Fair
"Compact and wholly contemporary, Jenny Offill's third novel sees a librarian find deep meaning and deep despair in her side gig as an armchair therapist for those in existential crisis, including liberals fearing climate apocalypse and conservatives fearing the demise of 'American values.' As she attempts to save everyone, our protagonist is driven to her limits, making for a canny, comic story about the power of human need." - Esquire
"Tiny in size but immense in scope, radically disorienting yet reassuringly humane, strikingly eccentric and completely irresistible...utterly exhilarating in its wit and intelligence...luminous." - The Boston Globe
"Genius... [A] lapidary masterwork... Remarkable and resonant... The right novel for the end of the world." - The LA Times
"Another perfectly wonderful trip inside the mind of Jenny Offill... [Her] fiction is such a pleasure to read... the funniness of many of her sentences indicates how precisely she calibrates them." - Slate
"Glorious, dizzying, disconcerting and often laugh-out-loud hysterical" - USA Today
"Always wry and wise. Offill offers an acerbic observer with a wide-ranging mind in this marvelous novel." - Publishers Weekly
"Clever and seductive . . . the weather of our days both real and metaphorical, is perfectly captured in Offill's brief, elegant paragraphs, filled with insight and humor. Offill is good company for the end of the world." - Kirkus Reviews