What Are You Going Through – Sigrid Nunez [REVIEW]

  • Read Date: February 1, 2021
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Format: Hardcover

“The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him ‘What are you going through?’”

This quote from Simone Weil is the central conceit of Nunez’s novel. Short, but packed with conversation and literary examination of the significance of life, death, companionship, language, relationships, etc. What Are You Going Through will keep one considering the most basic yet existential facets of life for a while, even after putting the book down.

What Are You Going Through book cover

When a friend of our main character asks MC to accompany her to execute an incredibly daunting task, MC reflects on life-changing encounters with friends, acquaintances, and family members over the course of her life and the desperate need we all feel to be completely understood.

Having read one other Nunez before, I was relatively familiar with her voice as I picked up What Are You Going Through; she has such a distinct and effective manner of imparting substantial ideas in a very matter-of-fact way that doesn’t leave the reader hopeless or desolate, but rather inspires the reader to think critically about why certain concepts evoke certain responses and how life is impacted by these responses.

Read: The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (REVIEW)

It will be easy to read What Are You Going Through quickly; in fact, I don’t necessarily advise against it. But I would recommend definitely reading it, and allowing some of the challenging concepts to really marinate. Don’t rush through the motions of reading a “short” book. Sit with it for a while. This is the kind of novel that can easily change one’s outlook on life, or even the way one lives, something only the best novels are able to do, and few that I have read in my lifetime.

Have you read What You Are Going Through? Drop a comment and let me know how you liked it!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!


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