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From the author of Dept. of Speculation, a dazzling and deadpan new novel about hope and despair, fear and comfort as it plays out in these times of environmental and political turbulenceShortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020'This is so good. We are not ready nor worthy' - Ocean VuongWhat are you afraid of, he asks me and the answer of course is dentistry, humiliation, scarcity, then he says what are your most useful skills? People think I'm funny...Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practise her other calling: as an unofficial shrink. For years, she has supported her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilised for the moment, but then her old mentor, Sylvia Liller, makes a proposal. Sylvia has become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water, and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right wingers worried about the decline of western civilisation.As she dives into this polarised world, she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you've seen the flames beyond its walls. When her brother becomes a father and Sylvia a recluse, Lizzie is forced to acknowledge the limits of what she can do. But if she can't save others, then what, or who, might save her?And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in--funny, disturbing, and increasingly mad.About the AuthorJenny Offill's novel Dept. of Speculation was shortlisted for the Folio Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award, and was chosen as a book of the year over 20 times, including by the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, FT, Daily Mail, Stylist, Observer and Vogue. She is also the author of the novel Last Things, and four books for children. She lives upstate New York with her family.
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