This month’s selection is the latest from one of our favourites: National Book Award-winning Sigrid Nunez. In amongst the slew of pandemic novels on offer, Nunez finds a sweet spot. As she explores the rabbit holes created by unbridled rumination, Nunez expertly captures the absurdity, anxiety and restlessness of long lockdown days through the eyes of a narrator who closely resembles the author herself.
Featuring a companionable parrot by the name of Eureka, an unlikely college-drop-out housemate and a luxurious hideaway in New York City, The Vulnerables is full of pertinent contemplation of what it means to exist in the world alongside other humans and what happens when the world you know gets turned upside down.
Known for her seamless blending of imagination and memory, you might be left wondering which parts of this story are close to Nunez’s reality. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she reflects “My narrators speak of things that matter deeply to me, and I give them many of my own musings and sentiments.” It’s down to us to decipher where the line is drawn.
Easily read in one sitting, or returned to in short bursts over several days, this novel is perfect for this busy time of year. It serves as a reminder of a time when slowing down was mandated and our loved ones weren’t always so near.