Jenny Offill: Weather

Offill’s prose is so damn funny that I marveled every sentence in her latest novel. As a result, I damn-near missed the entire plot. The book is 200 pages and the characters started to make sense to me around page 135. The whole time I didn’t realize Lizzie Benson, the narrator, is a librarian who is habituated to sleeping pills. She struggles between tending for her family and taking care of her brother who is a recovering drug addict. The novel is dark, urgent, and just hilarious. I could quote anything in the book, but here’s an example:

All I would have to do is take my clothes off with a stranger who has no particular interest in my long-term well-being or mental stability. How hard is that? I could do that. It would be fun. Especially if said stranger got all my jokes, and liked how I never nagged and how I never asked if I looked fat, and would agree to make me go to the dentist and doctor even though I don’t ever want to (because of death, death, the terrible death), and would be okay with my indifferent housekeeping and my seventies-style bush, and would be okay with us having to take care of my brother financially and emotionally for the rest of his life, also my mother, who is good and kind, but doesn’t have a cent, then I’m totally into it, I’d happily fuck him whichever way he fancied until the bright morn.

I will reread this novel in the near future.