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Written by: Jenny Offill
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 3 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"What 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 stabilized 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 civilization.

As she dives into this polarized 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.

©2020 Jenny Offill (P)2020 Jenny Offill

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 24-05-20

Gentle observations on contemporary life

Thoughtful, moving and funny observations enmeshed in a gently told story of contemporary life with its joys and woes. I cared so much for the characters I was sorry when the book came to an end.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • bookylady
  • 07-05-20

Uninspiring

I'm really not sure what to say about this one. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. A bit dull, plodding along. It didn't hold my attention and I found it to be full of seemingly unconnected threads.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • coolreader
  • 18-04-20

Dull ramblings of a boring protagonist

Don’t really see what all the fuss is about. This was well performed by a good narrator, but the story was pointless and the main character rather pathetic.