Weather by Jenny Offill

jenny offill, Weather by Jenny OffillWeather by Jenny Offill
This was a fast read both in length but also because of the writing style. Narrated in the first person, Weather by Jenny Offill is a beautiful portrayal of the modern mind at work, flitting to and from between the personal, professional, familial, and then of course the global situation around climate change. The book is written in shortish snippets of the narrator’s thoughts as she balances life as a wife, mother, and sister. She is under financial pressure, not in a fulfilling job, with a brother who is struggling. On top of all this, she takes on the job of responding to emails received by a popular climate scientist. It is the burden of these emails and the questions they pose that become too much for both our narrator and the climate scientist. The book is a reminder of how with science as well as domestic issues, it is easier for humans to live in a state of denial.


About Weather:

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. She’s 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.


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