What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

It feels like Nunez is essentially riffing here. There is a narrator, and there is a front story, but a lot of the book is consumed with her repeating stories others have told, primarily on the theme of death and the meaning of life (super light-weight). The stories echo against each other and against the front story (which, while perhaps not central, feel necessary to hold the book together as a novel, and is in fact interesting and propulsive).

It seems to be going for commentary on the universal, as none of the characters have names (just “my friend” and “my ex” and “the woman”). It has no explicit connection to The Friend, but it has very much the same voice. This isn’t a book for those who want, in their fiction, only to experience things and not to talk about them at all. As is often the case with books about writers, the reflection is often quite explicit. But it still comes through story, and it’s still enjoyable to read and, improbably, rather funny at times.

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