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 works in the library of a university where she was once a promising graduate student. Her side hustle is answering the letters that come in to Hell and High Water, the doom-laden podcast hosted by her former mentor. At first it suits her, this chance to practice her other calling as an unofficial shrink—she has always played this role to her divorced mother and brother recovering from addiction—but soon Lizzie finds herself struggling to strike the obligatory note of hope in her responses. The reassuring rhythms of her life as a wife and mother begin to falter as her obsession with disaster psychology and people preparing for the end of the world grows. A marvelous feat of compression, a mix of great feeling and wry humor, Weather is an electrifying encounter with one of the most gifted writers at work today.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jenny Offill’s short and arresting novel tackles the key issue of our time—looming climate disaster—by peering into the agile, agitated mind of a New Yorker named Lizzie Benson. Lizzie spends her days attempting to solve everyone else’s problems, anxiously struggling to save her addict brother and shield her longtime mentor from a barrage of increasingly hysterical letters from doomsday preppers. Lizzie’s brain is the shining star of Offill’s wry and incisive stream-of-consciousness story. It darts from one startling, often-hilarious observation to the next, all the while holding up a mirror to the barely controlled chaos and profound uncertainty that defines our daily lives.
A librarian becomes increasingly obsessed with doomsday preparations in Offill's excellently sardonic third novel (following Dept. of Speculation). Lizzie, a university librarian working in Brooklyn, already feels overwhelmed with guiding her son, Eli, through New York City's crowded elementary school system without the extra strain of dealing with her addict brother's constant crises. Mostly happily married to a computer game designer, Lizzie introduces anxiety into her marriage when she takes a second job answering emails for a former mentor who is now the host of a popular podcast about futurism. Fielding questions from both apocalypse truthers and preppers for the coming climate-induced "scarcity," Lizzies becomes convinced that doomsday is approaching. Her scattered, frenzied voice is studded with arresting flourishes, as when she describes releasing a fly: "Quiet in the cup. Hard to believe that isn't joy, the way it flies away when I fling it out the window." Set against the backdrop of Lizzie's trips to meditation classes, debates with a taxi driver, the 2016 presidential election, and constant attempts to avoid a haughty parent at Eli's school, Lizzie's apocalyptic worries are bittersweet, but also always wry and wise. Offill offers an acerbic observer with a wide-ranging mind in this marvelous novel.
Customer ReviewsSee All
It’s a half-baked novel, just a sketch really
I was looking forward to getting into this book, but there’s not much to get into. Its relatable characters suffer a diffuse mist of anxieties about climate change and banal family issues such as addiction, despair, flirtation with an affair, then that’s it. No character development, no plot. I liked the writing, but it seems like she forgot to write the novel. Disappointing based on all the hoopla.
It’s as if a one-tenth as funny Steven Wright wrote this on his most neurotic day and, as a result, it is not nearly as profound as the glowing reviews led me to believe. At certain points, the author is obviously feeling herself and just tossing off one-liners like this is indeed standup comedy. It gets downright nonsensical towards the end. I get the greater point, cool, but it didn’t fulfill or edify me. That’s a risk the author took by not developing her characters, and it all falls apart because of it. I can’t in good conscience award one-star to something that took time and effort, but this is as close to the bottom as I’ve gotten so far this year.