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What Are You Going Through

What Are You Going Through

Book - 2020
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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.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2020.
ISBN: 9780593191415
Characteristics: 210 pages ; 22 cm.


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Jan 08, 2021

Surprisingly light-handed story about suicide. Often funny, always grounded.

Dec 14, 2020

Couldn't put it down. Great writer. Loved The friend. This one is another smooth, deep and real read.

Nov 05, 2020

The words take you somewhere magical, a place like a good Netflix show where everything is elevated and special and shines brightly. But the storyline is so hard to dig in and grab without feeling overwhelmingly sad and broken. This is the second Nunez death book and you could wonder if she has another kind of story in her, something less deathly, anything but dying and surviving while a special someone passes. Just to give a reader a break.

It’s not too much fun to live here in this sparkly world, but it’s a sparkly world. You want to stop reading, but you want to keep reading. One more page. Okay, one more page. Soon you are invested in the characters and the upcoming death/suicide. Taking one’s own life is so complicated, so consequential. And to be dying, in one way or another you have to constantly deal with the choosing of taking your life: that’s just impossible.

Keeping these thoughts in your head through this book, you are able to process what you think and what you believe about life, death, the end of it all and the end of you and me. So in this way, this book is incredible. And the characters are incredible. And everything about it is incredible. But honestly, it’s rough. There’s nothing really fun, except delicious nastiness of the narrator’s ex-husband.

Still, reading this and The Friend back to back is like lunch with my mother in her end of life care center: death is across the hall, next door, at the table across from you. You want to never come back because next time you do, there will be new people at those tables and across the hall. And the stories are all different, interesting, beautiful and heartwarming. But you can only take in so much.

Oct 19, 2020

Everything that the "professional reviewers" say about Nunez's latest is true. Maybe it's that we're in October 2020 going through what feels like a dark time coming (literally shorter days) that I loved this book until about the last 20 pages when I just gave out and had to make myself finish it. Between the ex's fatalistic lectures, her friends cancer, the lady downstairs, and the rest--wonderful, painful, insightful, and yet could only take bite-size reading time. She is an amazing writer and I found the absence of quotations for speakers fine - I was 30 pages into it when I noticed - hey, where are the quotes. Still think The Friend is one of the best books of all time.

Oct 19, 2020

About dying, the meaning of life, friendship, listening and the importance of empathy.

Sep 30, 2020

This conversational, meandering literary fiction novel by award winner Nunez centers on two friends, one of whom is dying of cancer. It is not a book with a lot of plot, but I appreciated its thoughtful conversations on topics like the environment, euthanasia, memory, and what we owe other people.
"What are you going through? When Simone Weil said that being able to ask this question was what love of one's neighbor truly meant, she was writing in her native French. And in French the great question sounds quite different: Quel est ton tourment?" (p.97)

Sep 23, 2020

Nunez puts the reader into the head of a woman helping a dying friend with a side of all else going on at the time. This narrator thinks out loud as she recounts her feelings. Although it's written beautifully I found it mostly a continuation of thoughts and if I put the book aside for a time I had trouble re-entering her world.


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Sep 30, 2020

What are you going through? When Simone Weil said that being able to ask this question was what love of one's neighbor truly meant, she was writing in her native French. And in French the great question sounds quite different: Quel est ton tourment? (p.97)


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