07 Dec / What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez [in Booklist]
Always approachable, immediately engaged, Hillary Huber returns as Sigrid Nunez’s cipher after voicing her 2018 National Book Awarded, The Friend. Once more, suicide looms, this time as a future intention rather than in response to a foregone event. In this is spare, sharp, simultaneously both daunting and funny book, empathic Huber ensures listeners ample opportunities to chuckle and cry.
An unnamed protagonist maintains her ordinary-enough everyday life until a longtime (also unnamed) friend with terminal cancer announces she’s ready to die sooner rather than later and needs assistance: “I’m not talking about help dying,” she explains. “I know what to do.” She just doesn’t want to be alone: “What if something goes wrong? What if everything goes wrong? I need to know there’s someone in the next room.”
Our protagonist is not her first choice, she confesses, but is now her only choice. Agreements and plans quickly happen. As the friend figures out how to finish her life, the protagonist must continue to manage her own. In a book about dying, Huber deftly guides readers through … well … living.