A middle-aged female writer, an alienated young man and a playful exotic bird find themselves co-habiting a luxurious American apartment during the height of the recent global pandemic. Narrated by the writer in deceptively simple language, The Vulnerables reflects on our essential loneliness and our desire for meaning in these apocalyptic times. The book also raises questions about the value of family, friendship and fiction itself: what is the point of fiction, it asks, when millions of people remain in denial about the pandemic and climate change. The book quotes Stephen Hawking, for example, who saw no point, when he was asked to choose books that would still be read in a hundred years’ time: “Humanity has only about a hundred years left on Earth.” Far less confronting is the comment from one of the narrator’s writer friends: “elegy plus comedy is the only way to express how we live life now.” The Vulnerables is one such book: tempering its pessimism about the future with wry, subtle humour and a bracing intellectual curiosity, it offers the pleasures and consolations of Nunez’s creative imagination.
'A sharp-eyed and tender novel about human connection in a time of crisis' (PAULA HAWKINS) from the bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend
A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR IN THE GUARDIAN, OBSERVER, FINANCIAL TIMES AND INDEPENDENT
'Once you discover Sigrid Nunez, you don't look back' ANNE ENRIGHT
'A must-read about unlikely friendships' SUNDAY TIMES STYLE
'Compulsively readable' ELLE
'The Vulnerables leaves us, as the novel reaches its extraordinarily hopeful and disarming last line, with the feeling that we have been helped' GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE DAY
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.