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Do not get me wrong. I do not think this book is bad. Nor do I, even for a second, believe the author to be inadequate. You do not publish a book with the inconfidence of inadequacy. And I am nothing but a minute head in the crowd of hundreds and thousands of reader for whose sake a book exists outside a writer's draft folders. I can do nothing more but present my untaxed opinions, discarding a blindfold. Weather by Jenny Offill is based on an extensive monologue of Lizzie Benson, a young librarian with inadequate degree. She is a mother, a wife, a caring sister of a drug addict brother, juggling between work and family, squeezing inside it's minute cracks concerning thoughts of the disturbing world. She fears the gradually nearing snippets of doomsday and shows distress over the factors rightfully responsible. The whole novel is written in a form of inner thoughts gathered together and typed heavily in decorative sentences. While it reflects exactly the way a human mind thinks, it does not reflect anything beyond what every human in this earth's surface speculates on, on a daily basis, in between errands and unfortunate days. It does not really bring anything out into the front, anything that is strictly restricted to one's subconscious. Whatever she thinks of has already been thought of without solutions or possible remedies. Neither does the book strictly present to it's reader a single question that discomforts their privileges comforts into further questioning themselves and rethinking or reforming own choices. I tried repeatedly with ample amount of open-mindedness to understand, assign and reassign meanings to this particular novel but have never before been this this disappointed in a book so highly acclaimed. It's short, claustrophobic and quick a read, took me half a day if I deduct all those minutes I took breaks in between to understand what the point of either the narrative or the theme is. However, to solely depends on someone's opinion of any book at all would be a grave mistake and anyone is welcomed to figure the book out for themselves. You may as well end up liking it and that's simply of the the features of the innumerous variations of human interests and tastes.
Weather by Jenny Offill is a demanding book. It holds you right from page one and doesn’t let go (at least it did that to me). It can also go the other way and make the reader wonder what they are reading and perhaps make them stop reading as well. Weather isn’t an easy read. If you are reading Offill for the first time, I suggest you start with Dept. of Speculation and then move on to Weather, as it will give you an idea of perhaps what to expect.
Weather is a novel that is everything and more – it literally as the title suggests, speak of the weather – the situation of climate change that we are in which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is about a marriage that seems to be in control and yet felt to me that it was tearing at the seams.
It is also about the protagonist, Lizzie Benson’s sort of stream-of-consciousness that comes from her brother’s mental and physical health, her mentor’s closing off to the world, and to what extent she will go to test her endurance when it comes to empathy and the state of the world.
This is not a book that can be read in one go. You have to savor it and give it some time. It is fragmented and will take some time to get into. Maybe nothing extraordinary ever happens in the book as well (quite subjective). It reminds us of times – of impending doom that hangs over all of us – and yet more often than not we choose to ignore it. It is bleak and has moments of joy. The writing as I have mentioned isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t deter you from reading Offill. She is simply the best.
A narrator scrambling to make sense of the changes in and around her, a brother who’s an addict and a dependent, a professor with a podcast that tries to raise awareness about climate change and its sweeping impact, the backdrop of a time defined by hate and divisional politics and also by cultural conflation are all encased in Jenny Offill’s short bursts of detached yet potent writing.
Offill’s Weather does not only talk about the external weather, which of course is the larger focus of the novella. But Offill does hone in on our interior lives, the storms we weather everyday—the beleaguered relationships, the guilt of careers not pursued, the crushes that never quite turn into affairs, the parenting that we feel like we’re almost always failing at.
At its core, Weather is about a part-time librarian Lizzie who replies to the queries received by her once grad-school professor, Sylvia, in response to her portentous podcast. She notices that the tone of the replies gradually turns more and more despondent. The tumult in her personal life intensifies concomitantly with the worsening environmental condition.
Weather is unconventional in its narrative and execution; there are apparently many plot-lines but none reach resolution. For a reader, this could go either way. It may seem to hint at the potentiality of things to branch off into myriad possibilities or it may appear to be merely a clever ornamentation. I found myself languishing somewhere between these two alternatives, struggling to love Offill but discerning the ambition of her work regardless. For the reluctant reader, the good news is the book’s size—it’s a rather short book which you can easily see through in one sitting.
reads like a 101 world politics primer. juxtaposition being all, each snippet vies on the page for equal attention. all I had was a building sense that nothing mattered more or less than anything else. and when, with scarce 30 pages left of the novel to go Lizzie, the protagonist, is asked what she is most scared of, top of her list is dentistry. Her teeth, for goodness' sake. if this is the dread the novel has been building towards, and for which Ocean Vuong would have us prostrate ourselves to, then, really, the state of the world.
The best book I’ve read this year so far. Offill writes so beautifully, and her acutely perfect observations had me highlighting sentence after sentence. It’s personal and political and poetic and pageturningly good.
I don't understand how this novel could be put on the same tier and Maggie O'Farrell and Hilary Mantel on the shortlist for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction. It doesn't even seem like fiction to me as there's hardly a plot. This slim volume of random paragraphs loosely gathered into an order doesn't even tell a story. Not recommended
I did resent the time I spent reading this book. It says much that is representative of people's thoughts and worries at this point in the century, and there are certainly some nice lines. But it is like a chat show - lots of rather self-satisfied wittering, without adding anything new to the conversation, and (of course) without any plot or character development or hint of denouement. Without even very much generosity toward the world.
I bought this book as the reviews of it were good. A review is only one person's opinion, and sometimes I suspect that the authors family write them! I'm sorry to say that I found this book totally boring and uncohesive. If there was a plot, then I struggled to find it. Shan't bother with reviews in future, but shall read the relevant synopsis and make up my own mind.