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What Are You Going Through

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349013657

Price: £8.99

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A woman visits a friend with terminal cancer. Brilliant, strong-willed and alone, the friend, facing death, makes a momentous request. Will she accompany her on a holiday where she will, without warning one day, take a lethal pill to end her life on her own terms?

Shaken and grieving, she finds the strength to agree. What follows is an extraordinary story – profound, surprising and often funny – of a lifelong friendship given the ultimate challenge; to witness its end.

Utterly of our moment and timeless, What Are You Going Through is a deeply moving affirmation of life in its current existential threat and in its ordinary tragedies – the loss, loneliness, and the love that yet survives.


When I open one of [Sigrid Nunez's] novels, I almost always know immediately: This is where I want to be ... "What Are You Going Through" is as good as "The Friend," if not better
Dwight Garner, New York Times
A riveting picture of friendship intensifying as it draws to a close ... a rich meditation on companionship, loss and love
Beauty, friendship, nature, art: These are the salves to loneliness and despair, and Nunez offers them all in this searching look into life and death
Janice Y.k. Lee, New York Times Book Review
Brilliant ... The narrative control of this novel simply dazzles
I was dazed by the novel's grace
New Yorker
A touching, poignant illustration of what it means to have empathy for the lives around you
USA Today
A true pleasure to read, a novel bursting with wit, warmth, and human empathy
If the meaning of life is that it ends, Nunez gets to the nub of meaning in her brilliant novel. I loved it as much as The Friend
Susie Steiner
Impossible to put down
People Magazine
Remarkable ... powerful
Publishers Weekly
I was totally overwhelmed by this extraordinary novel. Even if it weren't about a subject dear to my heart I would be equally thrilled by its grace and profundity. Sentence by sentence it's a total joy - and sometimes, much to my surprise, laugh-out-loud funny
Deborah Moggach
Profound, moving and brilliant
Mail on Sunday
Love, death, friendship, compassion & SO MUCH wisdom. I just adore Sigrid Nunez
Paula Hawkins
Fans of Rachel Cusk will love this thoughtful, wise novel ... This complex tale demands the reader's attention, but is all the more satisfying for it
Good Housekeeping
Sigrid Nunez orchestrates a beautiful chorus of humanness here, and the novel asks a question we might all be thinking in these distant times: What does it mean to really be there for someone in times of hardship?
A funny and moving story of two women - one of whom has terminal cancer
Stylist Best Autumn Books 2020
Nunez's prose is conspiratorial and elegant, whimsical and wise. Alongside a contemplation of mortality are winks: For all its pain and seriousness, life is absurd, comical; we humans are impossible to figure out - and yet so tender
Oprah magazine (Best books of the year)
Dryly funny and deeply tender
Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
Both wise and unsettling ... This book's quiet discovery is that, no matter how extreme the circumstances, "life must be dealt with"
Wall Street Journal
A thought-provoking novel about life and death ... Nunez widens and narrows the focus of her lens, from the death of the world, to the death of a close friend and back again, with superb control. Her writing is taut, clear and insightful
Evening Standard
Much as in Rachel Cusk's recent work, the narrator is a conduit and sounding board for the stories of others... Deeply empathetic without being sentimental, this novel explores women's lives, their choices, and how they support one another....Highly recommended for readers who favour emotional resonance over escapism during difficult times
Library Journal (starred review)
A smart look at the bonds and demands of friendship
i Best New Books for Autumn
With both compassion and joy, Nunez contemplates how we survive life's certain suffering, and don't, with words and one another
Booklist (starred review)