Short, sharp, and quietly brutal ... Nunez returns to many of the topics she mined in The Friend, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2018: the meaning of life, the nature of death, writing, the purpose of friendship. This is hardly a criticism; in fact, what else is there? ... The novel is concerned with the biggest possible questions and confronts them so bluntly it is sometimes jarring: How should we live in the face of so much suffering? Dryly funny and deeply tender; draining and worth it.
Nunez studies the intersection of friendship and morality. Much of the novel's action is internal, as the attention of its judgmental, withholding narrator flicks from books to movies to sharp-edged thoughts about the people she encounters, offering plenty of surprises. Those willing to jump along with her should be tantalized by the provocative questions she raises