Today, it’s another short review of another long-listed book on the Women’s Prize list, Weather by Jenny Offill.
Today, I’m going to review Weather by Jenny Offill which has just been announced on the Women’s Prize long-list this year and is everywhere at the moment on social media. But first, here’s the synopsis:
‘What are you afraid of, he asks me and the answer of course is dentistry, humiliation, scarcity, then he says what are your most useful skills? People think I’m funny’
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practise her other calling: as an unofficial shrink. For years, she has supported her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilized for the moment, but then 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 she 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 acknowledge the limits of what she can do. But if she can’t save others, then what, or who, might save her? And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in–funny, disturbing, and increasingly mad.
This book is a book that intrigued me as soon as I saw the cover. It’s such a beautiful cover and the blurb interested me along with some quotes from authors I love to read, especially Max Porter. The book also alerted me to it when it was announced on the long-list on the Women’s Prize list. I didn’t know what to expect when going into it so I just went along with the ride and I enjoyed it but I do think I didn’t ‘get’ most of it, too.
I can see why this is on the long-list. It’s current and a book for ‘right now’ in relation to climate change and anxiety surrounding it. I enjoyed the style of the book as it’s in small vignettes which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea in fiction but I like the style, it keeps up the pace and the enjoyment of the book for me. The book is very short and it’s a great book to make your way through the long-list.
I think this book needs to be re-read as there’s too much to take into in one reading but is that the point? To mirror the anxiety in the book? Overall, I enjoyed it – it was a great, interesting read and something a bit different to what I’ve been reading recently and it was a great way to kickstart my way through the Women’s Prize long-list.
I can’t wait to read it again to see if there’s stuff I missed out on the first time I read it. Have you read Weather? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!