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Emma recommends... The Vulnerables - Sigrid Nunez

Emma recommends... The Vulnerables - Sigrid Nunez

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Emma recommends... The Vulnerables is the latest from Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend and many other novels. Set in the time of international crisis that was the first lockdown period of the Covid pandemic, this is a beautiful, funny, vibrant, and vital novel about connection. It isn’t necessarily easy to read about and think back to those lockdown days, but Nunez helps us to do just that in this book - with hope and humour, with generous intellect and gorgeous writing.


Three strangers are thrown together in one Manhattan apartment: a solitary writer; a Gen Z college drop-out; and a spirited parrot named Eureka. As the world outside descends into turmoil, the three of them must learn how to live with and care for one another. The Vulnerables reveals what happens when strangers are willing to open their hearts to each other and how far even small acts of caring can go to ease another’s distress.

Cushioned from the harsher, physical realities of the pandemic, there is nonetheless an atmosphere or unease and anxiety conveyed by the narrator – the writer – as she struggles to write, communicates with her group of friends, and tries to navigate life in this strangest of flatshares. Often written through quotes and thoughts from other writers, the book unfolds as a reflection on and rumination about empathy and the part played by writing and reading in how we develop it – how our knowledge and understanding of ideas support us in our daily lives, even in lives under stress, lives in unprecedented circumstances.

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