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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,662 ratings  ·  364 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
Hardcover, UK edition, 224 pages
Published February 13th 2020 by Granta Books (first published February 11th 2020)
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  • Weather by Jenny Offill
    Release date: Feb 11, 2020
    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 ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 10 copies available, 3837 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 11 - Mar 10, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Paige Holmes Mainly 2016, as there are plenty of references to Trump first being elected.

    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 3.94  · 
    Rating details
     ·  1,662 ratings  ·  364 reviews

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    Start your review of Weather
    weather noun
    : the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time
    weather transitive verb
    : to come safely through a difficult period or experience

    “First they came for the coral, but I did not say anything because I was not a coral.”

    I loved every minute of Weather. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, thanks to its choppy style, specific brand of humour and refusal to deliver conventional narrative movement, but I thought it was brilliant.

    This novel is both sardonic and warm, reflective of
    Diane S ☔
    Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    When one reads as many book as I do, the search for something different but good, is ongoing. This author seems to fill the bill. She takes the reader inside the thoughts of a young woman, Lizzie, who is juggling many of life's trials. She is a mother, a wife, tried to take care of her mother, and her brother who has had a problem with drugs. Additionally, the doomsday prediction with the climate and the unfriendly political situation, also preys on her mind. She works in a university library, ...more
    Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

    Can I ask you something, Will says one night and I sure, ask me something.

    “How do you know all this?”
    “I’m a fucking librarian.”

    fun fact about that line, beyond the “fuck, yeah!” of it in my heart: the verb between “I” and “sure” is missing in my ARC, so the quote is totes [sic], but i’m 2/3 convinced that the word was intentionally omitted. as the novel draws to its close (and that is on page 170 of the ARC's 201 pages), and as the sense of anxiety and fragmentation that is the
    And now for something completely different…

    Strange little novel that had me in the palm of its hand. There’s not really a plot, but sometimes, who needs one? Plot lovers, please don’t be scared off. It’s full of insights that are accessible and fascinating, and there is a story thread, I promise.

    You probably want to know, what’s the thread? The thread is Librarian Lizzie’s life as a wife, mother, professional letter writer, and helper of her brother, who is trying to stay clean. Amid all of
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: ew
    4 stars — so close to 5/stars!

    There’s something that seriously clicks between me and Jennifer Offill’s writing. I loved The Dept. of Speculation and, again, loved Weather. This is a very short novel, told through a series of first person vignettes. The narrator is a librarian, living in New York with her husband and young son, and eventually her addict brother. Each paragraph is a quick impressionistic reflection on the library’s patrons, parenthood, the state of her marriage, her “enmeshment”
    Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: usa, 2020-read
    Jenny Offill describes what it feels like to live in today's America, she writes about the political and social weather, the charged atmosphere that has enveloped the nation. Her protagonist Lizzie Benson works as a librarian without a traditional degree, thus administrating knowledge without being formally qualified - but, in the metaphorical sense, who really is? In the age of fragmented filter bubbles and the rise of hate, Lizzie also navigates her roles as wife and mother while trying to ...more
    Eric Anderson
    Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Although I read Offill’s novel “Dept. of Speculation” over five years ago during one joyously long reading session on a plane, it stands out in my mind as so stylistically unique with a voice that seamlessly blends humour with poignant critiques on love and modern life. Her new novel “Weather” uses a similar style of narrative while engaging more overtly with current politics and social anxiety. Rather than a linear story we’re presented with clipped sections of text surrounding the life of ...more
    Jaclyn Crupi
    Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This book speaks deeply to my personal and specific sense of despair and dread. It’s nothing short of remarkable and is complete perfection. And it’s funny! Best book of 2020 so far and just the best book I have read in ages. I don’t even want to tell you anything about it so you go in knowing exactly what I did: new Jenny Offill. How did I get to be so lucky to be alive at the same time as her?! I feel rearranged in the best possible way.
    Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Yeah, good luck trying to find a better one than this, Booker people.

    'There’s a sign on our elevator saying it is out of order. I stand there looking at it as if it might change. Mrs. Kovinski comes into the lobby. They’ll let anyone be super now, is her theory. Anyone.

    I get the mail, put off making my slow way up the stairs. The fancy preschool still sends us the newsletter. This one features a list of the top ten fears reported by their students. Darkness doesn’t make the cut. Blood, sharks,
    Emily B
    Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I loved the narrator but found some of the other characters hard to keep up with. Specially as who they were and their role/job etc wasn’t always explicitly named. Maybe if it was read in one sitting then I wouldn’t have had this problem so much.

    I found it both witty and thought provoking and would recommend you give it a read.
    Offill turns everyday life into poetry
    Gumble's Yard
    Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2020
    I hope to join an upcoming Book Club discussion of Jenny Offill’s 2014 second novel “Dept of Speculation” (shortlisted for the Folio Prize); and, this, her third novel “Weather” appeared on a number of 2020-preview lists.

    This book is very much in the style of Dept. of Speculation – a style I described in my review of that book as elliptical and aphoristic style.

    Offil said in many interviews around Dept. of Speculation that she enjoys wandering the non-fiction aisles of university libraries,
    Anna Luce
    The cover of this novel is beautiful...the actual contents...not so much.
    I don't mind novels in verse or written in an impressionist style. Sadly, there is little beauty or innovation in the way in which Weather is written. To me, there is nothing poetic about its disjointed and fragmented prose (so much so that to call it prose seems a stretch).
    Here are three extracts which other readers may appreciate, but I certainly didn't:

    “We were at the supermarket. All around us things tried to announce
    Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    1 4 3, Canadian hunk
    “A war-time romance, without the war, without the sex....” with the bookish hunk Quebecois, whilst taking care of the neurotic drug-addicted brother, and attending to her precursive decrepitude, mostly after husband took their young son out of town to get away from this near-negative Nelly.

    I expected this would be more like the first three (Autumn, Winter and Spring) of Ali Smith’s brilliant seasonal quartet.

    I’ll say this: it kept me reading for 224 pages of an inner
    Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fiction, netgalley
    4.5 rounded up

    Told in a series of short snippets, Weather follows Lizzie Benson, a librarian and ordinary woman who is navigating the post-Trump, post-truth landscape of life in contemporary America. Lizzie cares for her troubled recovering addict brother, her old beyond his years son and spent time looking after her dying mother. Through her conversations with them, and others - her former mentor Sylvia and patrons of the library in which she works - Offill weaves a tale which perfectly
    Bruce Katz
    Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: american-fiction
    I have no idea what rating to give this book. I have no idea, in fact, of what it was I read. The book dispenses with the conventions of story-telling (apart from having a single, first-person narrator). There is no "story" to speak of, though I suppose an attentive reader -- particularly one with training as a clinical psychologist -- could tease a story out. Or create one. Thinking on it last night, I began to think of the book not in terms of narrative but more as similar to the kind of ...more
    Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    My therapist once called me “tangential”. It was not by any means a slight, nor was it anywhere close to being inaccurate. I admittedly think and speak erratically; it’s a direct reflection of how my brain works. I’d like to think it’s because I am overcome with short, sporadic fits of brilliance, but it’s more likely because I’m so fearful of being distracted that in turn I become distracted in my attempts to avoid it.

    These days we’re practically obligated to cast blame for our insufficiencies
    Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    How’s the Weather? Everything is bad, so bad. Forlorn.

    And there’s no hope to be found in Weather, Jenny Offill’s new book after the explosive Dept. of Speculation, a book that, according to critics, was the precursor of the autofiction genre, where fact and fiction blur and it’s impossible to tell which is which; I specifically enjoy this idea, the guessing game that goes on in my mind as I think 'where does it end? where is the beginning?'

    Weather, however, feels painfully real, the one-word
    Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: monthly-view, 2020
    At the end of Jenny Offill’s new book, Weather (the first of her novels that I have read), there is a link to a website ( In an interview with Esquire magazine, Offill says

    ”I launched the Obligatory Note of Hope website. Much of it came from thinking about the novel and how to write the novel, and then when I was finished, there were all these resources I had come across. When I tried to fit them in the novel, they capsized the book. The website has tips for trying
    Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: netgalley
    This is a sort of ‘state of the nation’ address from one woman in New York going about her daily life, her thoughts and reflections mirroring the preoccupations of those around her. Civilisation’s decline and climate emergency are two of the main themes, highlighted by a new and very different president and political style. Her musings on these are interspersed with worries about her family, her marriage, her child, and observations of her customers at the library where she works, people she ...more
    Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: audio, overdrive
    Seriously overhyped and underwhelming. At least it was short.
    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    Structurally and in terms of the prose, this is a really exciting read. Beautiful sentences loaded with existential weight, with a plot propelled by these inner thoughts of Lizzie... and yet I don’t think I connected with this as much as other readers (perhaps I’d benefit from a re-read). I felt the reflections on climate change and social decline/deterioration on more of a thematic level, and admittedly struggled to fall into step with the plot until a little way in to the narrative. This gave ...more
    The Nerd Daily
    Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

    Jenny Offill’s third novel, Weather, is a relatively small book with a large impact. It tells the story of Lizzie who is a wife and mother, a caretaker for her brother who has struggled with addiction, and a librarian by luck, not by training. She spends her days observing patrons of the library and analysing their lives, while juggling her own life issues at the same time. When a former mentor approaches Lizzie to take on a side job
    Varsha Ravi (between.bookends)

    If I were to plot my reading experience of this novel, it would probably be a perfect sinusoid that doesn’t quite peak but plateaus in the middle only to dip again in the end. Weather is a loosely plotted, mostly observational novel capturing the current climate (literally and figuratively) of the now, while offering anecdotal insights on where we, as humanity, are heading. The sentences are short, clipped and really quite sparse. A technique that works phenomenally well for dry comic
    Jessica Sullivan
    In David Wallace-Wells’ book The Uninhabitable Earth, he wrote about how the climate crisis will change the way people write fiction, that it will begin to show up in the background, not as the main focus of the story like in dystopian fiction, but as a part of normal daily life. I was reminded of this when I read Jenny Offill’s new book, about a woman increasingly consumed by the existential dread of impending doom brought on by the climate crisis and accentuated by other familiar modern woes. ...more
    Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2019
    While this novel might not be as immediately accessible as "Dept. of Speculations," Offill's narration is just as fresh and beguiling, her topics just as pressing.
    Moreover, her new novel must surely be one of the best at capturing the current American zeitgeist. Her fragmented narration seems to chronicle a nation on the brink, self-doubt and personal drama interspersed with existantial questions and tips for surviving the climate crisis and its effects. The tone oscillates between black comedy
    Books on Stereo
    Weather features exquisite writing, but falters in crafting a memorable characters.
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Read it in one sitting (no really). Deeply quotable. I used to live half a block from the elementary school featured. The assessment that all the white parents love the diversity, but not as much as they wish their kids would test into a city-wide G&T? 100 percent accurate.

    Depressing, because [gestures at the world] but funny enough that you won’t mind.
    Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I loved this book. It's short, fairly uneventful, and not exciting or action-packed, but it's just the kind of writing I adore - the dry, ennui-filled, almost apathetic writing that manages to show you a broad sweeping culture through perfectly phrased personal moments.

    This book in particular I think is not just an enchanting read but very clever. There's no big finish, no ramping up to dramatic conclusions; but that's not why you read a book like this. It hooks you with the writing, not the
    Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: arc
    While the prose is sort of hypnotizing and makes for a quick read, Weather felt frustratingly aimless and anticlimactic. The characters are so forgettable, I kept forgetting who was who. The story is presented in dry vignettes which aren’t particularly original or engaging:

    How come Coke cans all have names on them now? Sarah, Keesha, Madison etc. It’s really hard not to look for your name. Or to buy one if you see it.

    I know this style of writing appeals to some, but for me it feels uninspired.
    Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
    The more I think about this one the less I think of it.

    I enjoyed Dept of Speculation a lot. The narrative style here is very similar, the characters are very similar, its processes are very similar, yet it doesn't improve upon the form in any way. The personal *can* be universal, but this book assumes that is the case. It also assumes far too much about its reader and their knowledge, political leanings, and opinions to be universal. It assumes that the reader must also be a comfortable,
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    Jenny Offill is an American author born in Massachusetts. Her first novel Last Things was published in 1999 was a New York Times Notable book and a finalist for the L.A Times First Book Award.

    She is also the co-editor with Elissa Schappell of two anthologies of essays and the author of several children's books She teaches in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University and Queens
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    “And then it is another day and another and another but I will not go on about this because no doubt you too have experienced time.” 3 likes
    “My # 1 fear is the acceleration of days. No such thing supposedly, but I swear I can feel it.” 2 likes
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