Review: Weather, by Jenny Offill

weather by jenny offillRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Literary Fiction


In Weather, Lizzie is a librarian who is a fake shrink to her mother and to her brother, Henry, who is a recovering addict and whose wife is about to give birth to their first child. She starts assisting Sylvia, her old professor at University, answer emails for her podcast, which forces Lizzie to confront her own life and the situation of the world,

Weather was one of the books I was looking most forward to from the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 Longlist, but in the end I was left wanting more from it. For starters, I struggled to write a paragraph about the book’s plot, because there isn’t actually much of it at all.

I really enjoyed the writing style, it was introspective and so smart, I found myself re-reading a few times some paragraphs I really enjoyed. I also find it interesting that a lot of what is written on the page leaves blanks of story for the reader to fill out by themselves – it made the novel sparse but with more going on in between scenes. It’s not a novel to speed-through, because you’re left thinking about the scenes you’ve just read and I, at least, needed a moment to process each of them. It was really interesting and a bit challenging that way. The narrator voice also reminded me a little of the Ducks, Newburyport narrator, which I really liked.

However, because the novel was so sparse, I felt a bit disconnected from almost every character (I constantly forgot which was her husband and which was her brother), and wanting to know more about them, about Lizzie, about how she increasingly turns to becoming a prepper. When the book was over, it was anticlimactic to realize that I would not get more depth in terms of story, character or even of the anxiety that starts permeating the book as Lizzie gets more involved in Sylvia’s podcast. I expected the book to grow into a tense moment of Lizzie’s sense of helplessness towards the future, but it simply… ended.

Weather is a very well-written book, with hints of brilliancy and humor, but I found it to be utterly forgettable.

8 thoughts on “Review: Weather, by Jenny Offill

  1. Great review Naty, I felt so similarly about this one! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one reminded of Ducks by the narrator’s voice, either. But for a book that I mostly enjoyed reading this one really left an underwhelming impression in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Naty, I felt more or less the same! I think if we just got more from the characters I would have loved this one, and it would have made the smart, clever writing a total win for me. But like you said, this way it was forgettable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marija! I totally agree. If there had been a little bit more, this would’ve been a favorite read for sure. It’s kind of sad that lots of people think the same, but I think a particular kind of reader will actually enjoy it a lot more!


  3. Pingback: Weekly Wrap Up 21-27 April 2020 (I am a READING MACHINE) | Naty's Bookshelf

  4. Pingback: Weekly Wrap Up 21-27 April 2020 (I am a READING MACHINE) | Naty's Bookshelf

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