What Are You Going Through, by Sigrid Nunez

Staff Pick

Nunez’s extraordinary technique might be summed up in the first line of her mesmerizing novel: “I went to hear a man give a talk,” an unnamed narrator states, aptly introducing a narrative woven of stories, conversations, and ruminations, one in which the listening is no less important than the telling. Nunez’s narrator is expert at both, and her profiles of passing acquaintances—a woman at her gym, her Airbnb host, even her host’s cat—are as vivid and engaging as those of her oldest friends, like her ex, a misanthropic public intellectual obsessed with the climate crisis and her best friend from college, a sharp woman with a dark sense of humor and a daughter estranged nearly from birth. Each story is told—mostly—without judgment, and all are mined for what they suggest about how to live. And how to die, which may or may not be the same question, as Nunez’s protagonist discovers when she agrees to help her college friend end her “battle” with cancer, a partnership that opens new directions in their relationship and leads not only to pathos but to unexpected moments of humor. As with her National Book Award-winning The Friend, there is a lot to think about here, but Nunez couches her deft novel of ideas within a full gamut of emotions.

What Are You Going Through: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593191415
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2020

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