Sigrid Nunez | Fiction, 2020
From the back cover: “A woman describes a series of encounters she has with various people in the ordinary course of her life. Some, like the old friend she goes to visit at a cancer clinic, are people she knows well; others are total strangers. In each of them, she finds a common need: the urge to talk about themselves and have an audience to their experiences.”
Nunez demonstrates how to listen and for that alone I am very grateful for this book. The back cover is accurate, but insufficient. The story actually is driven mostly by her relationship with the friend who has cancer and who asks her to help her die. It sounds like a grim tale, but it is not. How much they laugh in the final days!
I was amazed to read the author’s and her characters’ feelings about death, cancer, untold stories, kittens, and overpopulation. She shared some of my own feelings ... some I thought only I had ever felt!
This book kept crossing my radar screen. An NPR review, Time magazine, other references to it. I was surprised to learn it was a novel; I thought it was nonfiction. What You are Going Through is short and will give you pause. I quite liked it and I just requested at the library her earlier book, The Friend.