Weather

Weather

A Novel

Book - 2020
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17
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

From the beloved author of the nationwide best seller Dept. of Speculation -- one of the New York Times Book Review 's Ten Best Books of the Year--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 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.

"Offill's fragmentary structure evokes an unbearable emotional intensity: something at the core of the story that cannot be narrated directly, by straight chronology, because to do so would be like looking at the sun..." -- The New York Times
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780385351102
0385351100
Branch Call Number: OFFILL J
Characteristics: 207 pages ; 20 cm

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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Mar 10, 2021

This novel sits at the intersection of flash fiction and novel. I enjoyed it very much, but flash fiction is also something I enjoy. Those who prefer their novels with a straight narrative flow may find this one frustrating.

s
selfishgiant
Dec 28, 2020

Globe 100 2020. Failed academic works at help desk in university library.

k
KlayDyer
Nov 19, 2020

Hemingway and Carver were literary minimalists, never a word too many or a phrase out of place. Canadian Alistair MacLeod wrote stories that were lyrical, rhythmic, and powerfully evocative of the experience of being human, questioning, and faith-fullness. Offill's Weather is almost a collision of these two extremes, creating a novel that is not a novel in the traditional sense of being an extended narrative. It is a minimalist evocation of powerful, doom-laden experiences laced together by over-abundant interstices. A unique and special reading experience.

w
wyenotgo
Nov 11, 2020

A number of decades ago, paint splatter art, a variant on the abstract expressionist movement, became quite popular; I suspect that had something to do with freeing up the senses, removing boundaries to both expression and perception. When I view a Jackson Pollack, I’m allowed to interpret it in any way I choose; depending on how many ounces of Scotch I’ve had, the possibilities become endless.
Jenny Offill has tossed random thoughts at her keyboard, in what seems like a brainstorming session to see what sticks (or perhaps many sessions on her analyst’s couch).
My problem with all this is that she’s no literary Jackson Pollack. Individual random fragments of her stream of musings sparkle amid the babble but the totality of result just left me shaking my head. A novel this is not.
There’s a comic strip in our local daily paper called “Pardon my Planet” that features this kind of thing: occasionally clever, often cynical snippets of life among “thirty-somethings” that apparently express the views of urban populations today. I can’t say whether that strip or Offill’s musings offer any insight into our current existence but I suspect that whatever they do say about us is inconsequential.
And therefore a waste of time.

l
LucasHill
Sep 30, 2020

A novella-length run-on sentence

k
KARIM SULEMAN
Sep 18, 2020

Probably the worst, go nowhere story I have ever read. Had high hopes because of the reviews but for me the author's writing style did nothing for me. Lucky it was such a short read. Would not recommend.

k
krsbozo
Jul 14, 2020

I picked this book up, because Jenny Offill is mentioned often by the editors of the NYT Book Review. Her style is unique, as she doesn't string her stories together with long paragraphs. Instead, she has short one- or two-line paragraphs that are grouped into short segments. Each of these short paragraphs reads almost like poetry to me. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book. It's funny and clever and engaging. I will likely read other books by Jenny Offill. I think I read this book in about a day, so it grabbed me and didn't let me go until I was done with it.

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DrTeva
Jul 02, 2020

Lost interest early in the narrative. The story is told in disjointed paragraphs. Don't want to work that hard to piece together the story.

b
booknrrd
Jun 28, 2020

I'll be honest. This is probably a smarter book than Dept. of Speculation, but I enjoyed it a little less. I think it is one that takes multiple readings to really reveal its depths. A smart take on the modern condition and our lack of concern for the environment.

JCLFlanneryC Apr 03, 2020

I loved Dept. of Speculation, and love Jenny Offill because she's both erudite and unpretentious, ambitious but accessible. This book started out strong for me but fizzled out, I don't know why. I was hoping for more like a late Anthropocene "Miss Lonelyhearts" or more from a librarian's POV, ha ha, but this book becomes estranged from its characters and abandons its central premise, and though digressions are Offill's trademark style, this one wanders too far off course for me. Still, I this book has many "good parts" and is recommended for anyone who's curious.

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