Weather: Profound, hilarious yarn leaves you wanting more
Jenny Offill’s latest novel of ideas draws deeply on conversations, media and emails
Jenny Offill: The ideas that resonate on every page of her work are an intrinsic part of her fiction, the fuel for story and character.
Jenny Offill’s skill as a novelist is to educate and entertain all in the one book. It’s there in her debut novel, Last Things, as her young female protagonist questions the world around her through science while more impenetrable mysteries play out in her family. Her critically acclaimed bestseller, Dept of Speculation, which seemed to be on everyone’s must-read list in 2014, was at once a portrait of a marriage break-up, a visceral dissection of motherhood and a lament for the lost “art monster” that goes untended in the face of domestic demands. It was shortlisted for the Folio Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award and has since been optioned for a feature by Animal Kingdom.
To say that Offill’s books are novels of ideas is like saying that the sea is wet. The ideas that resonate on every page are an intrinsic part of her fiction, the fuel for story and character. Her third novel, Weather, continues in this vein. The narrator Lizzie Benson is a librarian whose capacity for interesting facts about the world (and particularly its ending) is matched only by her curiosity in people.