What we know about the weather is that it will change, and we can only try to predict it. Lizzie knows this, as she tracks in Weather the patterns of her life and other failing systems during and after the 2016 election. Offill’s fragmentary reflections like clouds pass over pills, politics, the swiftly dying planet, but! Could you trust me if I tell you it’s often, mercifully, hilarious? Weather’s scope and sharp clarity feel sorely refreshing. It’s a clear day, if a cold one, in this our season of storms. Recommended By Thomas L., Powells.com
I loved Offill's last book, Department of Speculation, and it appears it was no fluke as I loved this one too! Neither are particularly plot-heavy, but you get so caught up in the dazzling writing and the wonderful characters that you don't really notice. Read them both! They go fast! Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the 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 shimmering 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. 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.
"No one writes about the intersection of love and existential despair like Jenny Offill."
"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."
"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)
"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)
"Always wry and wise. Offill offers an acerbic observer with a wide-ranging mind in this marvelous novel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
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.