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The New York Times-bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend brings her singular voice to a story about the meaning of life and death, and the value of companionship.
A woman describes a series of encounters she has with various people in the ordinary course of her life: an ex she runs into by chance at a public forum, an Airbnb owner unsure how to interact with her guests, a stranger who seeks help comforting his elderly mother, a friend of her youth now hospitalized with terminal cancer. In each of these people the woman finds a common need: the urge to talk about themselves and to have an audience to their experiences. The narrator orchestrates this chorus of voices for the most part as a passive listener, until one of them makes an extraordinary request, drawing her into an intense and transformative experience of her own.
In What Are You Going Through, Nunez brings wisdom, humor, and insight to a novel about human connection and the changing nature of relationships in our times. A surprising story about empathy and the unusual ways one person can help another through hardship, her book offers a moving and provocative portrait of the way we live now.
About the Author
Sigrid Nunez is the author of the novels Salvation City, The Last of Her Kind, A Feather on the Breath of God, For Rouenna, and the National Book Award-winning The Friend, among others. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. She has been the recipient of several awards, including a Whiting Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. Nunez lives in New York City.
Praise for What Are You Going Through:
“Richly interiorized. . . With both compassion and joy, Nunez contemplates how we survive life's certain suffering, and don't, with words and one another.”—Booklist, STARRED review
“Short, sharp, and quietly brutal. . . spare and elegant and immediate. . . [What Are You Going Through] is concerned with the biggest possible questions and confronts them so bluntly it is sometimes jarring: How should we live in the face of so much suffering? Dryly funny and deeply tender.”—Kirkus, STARRED review
“Sigrid Nunez orchestrates a beautiful chorus of humanness here, and the novel asks a question we might all be thinking in these distant times: What does it mean to really be there for someone in times of hardship?” – Lithub
“Much as in Rachel Cusk’s recent work, the narrator is a conduit and sounding board for the stories of others… Deeply empathetic without being sentimental, this novel explores women’s lives, their choices, and how they support one another….Highly recommended for readers who favor emotional resonance over escapism during difficult times.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“Spectacular.” —Publishers Weekly