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Weather: A novel Hardcover – February 11, 2020
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From the Publisher
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“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
"Jenny Offill is the master of novels told in sly, burnished fragments... In Offill’s hands, the form becomes something new, a method of distilling experience into its brightest, most blazing forms — atoms of intense feeling... these fragments feel like: teeming worlds suspended in white space, entire novels condensed into paragraphs... What she is doing is coming as close as anyone ever has to writing the very nature of being itself... “Weather” transforms the novel of consciousness into a record of climate grief."
--Parul Sehgal, The New York Times profile
“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.”
“We named Offill's previous novel, the shrewd and genre-destroying Dept. of Speculation, as a book every woman should read; this follow-up, a sort of spiritual sequel, solidifies the author's place among the vanguard of writers who are reinvigorating literature.”
--O The Oprah Magazine
“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.”
“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."
“Ptent... Offill is a master of the glancing blow."
“Glorious, dizzying, disconcerting and often laugh-out-loud hysterical”
"Always wry and wise. Offill offers an acerbic observer with a wide-ranging mind in this marvelous novel."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"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 (starred review)
"Revelatory . . . Offill, who will delight fans of Lydia Davis and Joy Williams, performs breathtaking emotional and social distillation in this pithy and stealthily resonant tale of a woman trying to keep others, and herself, from "tipping into the abyss."
--Booklist (starred review)
“This is so good. We are not ready nor worthy.”
"Jenny Offill writes beautiful sentences; she is also a deft curator of silences. It’s this counterpoint of eloquence and felt absence that enables her to register the emotional and political weather of our present."
"No one writes about the intersection of love and existential despair like Jenny Offill."
"Jenny Offill conjures entire worlds with her steady, near-pointillist technique. One feels a whole heaving, breathing universe behind her every line. Dread, the sensation of sinking, lostness, and being cast away from any sense of safety infiltrates every interaction and private moment in this book, like ashes from the burning world she describes."
“Novelists don’t need to dream the end of the world anymore—they need to wake up to it. Jenny Offill is one of today’s few essential voices, because she writes about essential things, in sentences so clipped and glittering it’s as if they are all cut from one diamond.”
"Weather is a beautiful book, both subtle and powerful. In writing, that’s a superhuman feat. And now is exactly when we need the superhumans. Make haste. Read it."
"There is no doubt that Jenny Offill is the writer for this particular historical moment. Weather is a tour de force of her considerable and startling gifts: the compressed and gorgeous sentences, the astounding comic timing, the profound and wise surprises. The miracle of this novel is how it looks at our contradictions and conditions with such bracing honesty and yet gives us a tender hopefulness toward these fraught humans. Offill makes us feel implicated but also loved."
About the Author
- Publisher : Knopf (February 11, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385351100
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385351102
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.73 x 0.89 x 7.52 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #17,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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This may appeal to some, but it seems to be the worst thing I've read in a decade.
Nothing extraordinary happens in Weather. Even Dept of Speculation had more of a plot. It's the literary equivalent of a painting in a modern art gallery, the one with a plain canvas and a two brushstrokes that sold for $1 million. Simple and understated, yet somehow perfect. Lizzie jumps from topic to topic, and in so doing, elevates the mundane to the memorable, the pedestrian to gut-wrenching. "Are you sure you're my mother?" asks her son early on. "Sometimes you don't seem like a good enough person."
Everyone in Weather is trying to cling to life and a semblance of normality, even more so after the 2016 elections that occur midway during the book. "Should we get a gun?" Lizzie's husband asks. "But it's America. You don't even get on the news if you shoot less than three people." Thinks Lizzie, in response: "His grandfather's name was twice as long as his. They shortened it at Ellis Island." (If that seems like a non sequitur, you may not enjoy Weather.) At another juncture, Lizzie's brother confronts an automobile driver who almost hit them as they walked. "She won't look at him. 'You and your precious lives,' she says."
Whiffs of impending peril permeate Weather. In times of disaster, Lizzie reminds us a few times, the brain freezes. Everyone needs a plan of escape, whether a doomstead in New Zealand or a house high on a hill or a motivating mantra. Those who ignore the signs will not survive. It's not exactly uplifting, which is probably why the last page includes a link to a what-can-we-do-about-all-this? site called Obligatory Note of Hope.
Short but potent. I'll read it again, maybe tomorrow.