Another stunner from the inimitable Sigrid Nunez. The Vulnerables is a meditative, wry book that picks apart what it means to live in a world as unnerving as ours currently is, and what it means to create art (or at least, try to create art) in the midst of everything. The narrator is stuck in New York City during the height of the pandemic, caring for a friend of a friend’s parrot, trying to make meaning even as her brain feels like it’s flattening beneath the weight of a scary world whose scariness becomes more banal the longer it persists. This story may sound heavy, but somehow Nunez makes sure it isn’t. The project is leavened with her signature humor, sharp insights, and crisp writing. Recommended By Kelsey F., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times-bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend and What Are You Going Through brings her singular voice to a story about modern life and connection
Elegy plus comedy is the only way to express how we live in the world today, says a character in Sigrid Nunez's ninth novel. The Vulnerables offers a meditation on our contemporary era, as a solitary female narrator asks what it means to be alive at this complex moment in history and considers how our present reality affects the way a person looks back on her past.
Humor, to be sure, is a priceless refuge. Equally vital is connection with others, who here include an adrift member of Gen Z and a spirited parrot named Eureka. The Vulnerables reveals what happens when strangers are willing to open their hearts to each other and how far even small acts of caring can go to ease another's distress. A search for understanding about some of the most critical matters of our time, Nunez's new novel is also an inquiry into the nature and purpose of writing itself.
"Nunez's subject is the core business of being alive: the tenuous beauty of human connection, the nature of memory, the purpose of writing, the passage of time...Sharp — and surprisingly tender." — Kirkus (Starred Review)
About the Author
Sigrid Nunez is the author of the novels A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, The Friend, and What Are You Going Through, among others. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. She has been the recipient of several awards, including the National Book Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Guggenheim. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She lives in New York City.